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Florida governor election results: Republican Rick Scott prevails in tight race

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Wilfredo Lee/AP

(Read caption) Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott his wife Ann, wave to supporters before Scott's victory speech, on Nov. 3, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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The Florida gubernatorial election turned out to be every bit as close as the polling in recent weeks suggested.

But by mid-morning Wednesday, the result was finally official: Republican Rick Scott – who spent nearly $75 million of his own money on his campaign – is the winner. Democrat Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, conceded defeat, opting not to wait until every ballot was counted.

Mr. Scott is a first-time politician whose primary win over a more established candidate was a surprise.

He’s a former health-care CEO who was forced to resign amid a scandal over Medicare billing practices in 1997, and he barely met the seven-year Florida residency requirement to run.

Despite being a political novice, Scott ran a relatively strong campaign and benefited from the Republican tide sweeping across the country, and particularly across Florida. Sen.-elect Marco Rubio – a young conservative tea party favorite who won the GOP primary – got nearly 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

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