With early voting beginning Monday in some Florida counties, the Senate race there was jolted as Republican Gov. Rick Scott kept up the pressure on Sen. Bill Nelson’s thus-far unsubstantiated claims that Russian operatives have already compromised Florida elections.
In the hotly contested race, Democrat Sen. Nelson’s comments seemed to dovetail with the narrative of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections —international shenanigans many in the American intelligence community have concluded were real.
But Mr. Nelson’s pointed remarks triggered a storm of protest not only from his Republican challenger, Mr. Scott, but from other Florida officials, too.
Mr. Scott spent the weekend hammering Mr. Nelson for his claims last Tuesday that “Russians are in Florida’s elections records,” and that they had “already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about.”
The senator offered no specifics or evidence for his bombshell, and when pressed to do so demurred on the ground it was “classified.”
Since then, Mr. Scott’s campaign has repeatedly accused Mr. Nelson of either fabricating his accusation to play off inchoate fears of Russian election hacking, or breaking the law by revealing classified information.
The National Republican Senate Committee jumped in Monday saying the 75-year-old senator “can’t hide forever and Floridians deserve an explanation now.”