Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott did something Tuesday that Republicans rarely do in elections: He doubled his share of the African-American vote from the last time he ran, picking up 12 percent on Tuesday, according to exit polls.
Education reform advocates such as former D.C. Councilman Kevin Chavous are pointing to that as proof that black voters responded to Scott's support for school choice and his willingness to take on teachers unions.
"That's the reason why Rick Scott won that election," said Chavous, now executive counsel for the American Federation for Children, a pro-school choice group. "He really had no base of support in the African-American community but for this one issue."
Scott defeated Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, 48-47 percent, in an election that saw higher African-American turnout than when he first won office in 2010. That year, African-Americans accounted for 11 percent of the overall vote with more than half a million casting ballots. Only about 6 percent of blacks voted for Scott.
Four years later, African-American turnout rose to 14 percent of the overall vote, with just under 800,000 casting ballots. This time about 12 percent voted for Scott. The total votes Scott received from the community rose from 34,000 to 95,000.
That 61,000-vote increase is particularly noteworthy because it almost entirely accounts for Scott's final margin of victory over Crist, which was about 66,000 votes.