Get to know your goober-natorial options

State elections are right around the corner, and boy, it’s a big one. On Nov. 4, you’ll face a ballot that will determine the makeup of the Senate, the House, the governor’s seat and a number of new measures.

Of course, everything on the ballot is important, but we decided to focus on what The New York Times called “one of the nation’s closest, costliest and most-watched governor races,” and the Miami Herald named “the costliest and meanest governor’s race in the nation.”

Right now, two of the candidates — current governor Rick Scott and incumbent Charlie Crist — are neck and neck. The winner is so unclear, in fact, that experts have called the election “too close to call,” “a toss-up” and “virtually tied.”

With that in mind, when you go out to the polls (and you’re going, right?), it’s even more important than usual to make an informed decision. Republicans have held the governor’s seat plus a majority in the House and Senate since 2011. The outcome of this election could change the state’s — and nation’s — political landscape. So go out and vote!

Illustrations by Sara Nettle

Rick Scott  (R)

Scott has been governor since 2010 when, despite being an unknown, he won the seat after pouring $73 million of his own money into the campaign, three times more than has ever been spent on a Florida governor race. Scott was under scrutiny during the 2010 election for his role as CEO and co-founder of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which was investigated for what the U.S. Department of Justice would later call “the largest healthcare fraud case in US History.” He’s also been criticized for appointing fewer African-American judges than our past two governors and is being monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice for adding barriers to voting and restricted access to polls. At the same time, he has been praised for shedding his tea party goals and, during his term, moving into a moderate Republican position. The Tampa Tribune has even officially recommended his re-election.

Positions

 

Charlie Crist (D)

Charlie Crist served as the Republican governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011. In 2010, Crist left the Republican party and became an Independent to run against Marco Rubio for the Senate position, which he lost. In 2012, he made his next switch, supporting Barack Obama and registering as a Democrat. In the past, he has come out as a self-described “pro-gun, anti-abortion, small-government supporter who worships Ronald Reagan.” For his position-switching, he’s been called a turncoat and political opportunist. During his term, tuition increased each year, reaching a peak 15 percent increase in his final year. However, Crist spent a record amount of money per pupil during his time as governor. And as part of his First Day of Fairness plan, he intends to end wage discrimination in businesses contracted by the state.

Positions

  • Raise minimum wage to $10.10/hr
  • Increase education funding, restore education cuts
  • Drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants
  • Expanding Medicaid and Obamacare
  • Supports same-sex marriage, believes court will decide on the outcome
  • Does not support recreational marijuana, supports medical marijuana amendment
  • Does not support embargo on Cuba
  • Opposes taxes on the wealthy
  • Supports prioritizing green energy

 


Adrian Wyllie (L)

In a race led by two extremely unpopular candidates (data blog FiveThirtyEight said no other gubernatorial race in the country has as much bipartisan disdain), Wyllie’s remained relevant by acting as an appealing foil to Crist’s and Scott’s money-soaked, aggressive advertising war. There are many great facts about the Republican-turned-Libertarian Internet radio talk show host and small-business owner, including: For the past three years, he’s refused to renew his expired license in protest of the REAL ID Act, for which he was arrested in May. SunTrust began foreclosing procedures on his house in 2010, and though the Miami Herald found that the court records are still open, Wyllie said the case is resolved. He’s also exclusively visited local breweries to promote his campaign.

Positions

  • Opposes all property taxes on homeowners
  • Opposes in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
  • Opposes Obamacare
  • Free in-state businesses from all federal regulations
  • Cut state budget by 30 percent
  • Supports legalizing marijuana
  • Supports ending ban on same-sex marriage
  • Wants to repeal Florida’s Common Core education standards