Nelson, a well-established two-term senator, had long been a favorite to win re-election. He earned endorsements from the state's top newspapers, and was able to capitalize on the GOP's unpopular budget, which calls for sweeping reforms to Medicare and Medicaid -- federal health care programs that are crucial to Florida's large senior population.
The Florida Senate race was perhaps most notable for its lack of notoriety. In an election year when the state once again found itself at the center of presidential politics, and hot-button campaign issues -- from housing to health care -- were of particular interest to Florida's population, the Senate race never captured national attention. The candidates held just one debate, and once the campaign began in earnest, Nelson opened up a wide lead and never looked back.
Mack chose to run for Senate -- to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Sen. Connie Mack III -- rather than seek re-election to the House.