PolitiFact: Is Bill Nelson One of America's Most Independent Senators?

The Florida Senate race is one of the most closely contested races in the nation, featuring a long-time incumbent in Democrat Bill Nelson facing the sitting Republican Governor Rick Scott. There will be claims and ads going back and forth – and NBC 6 is working with our partners at PolitiFact Florida to separate fact from fiction.

On the campaign trail, Scott has hammered Nelson for voting with the most liberal members of Congress. But a recent ad from a Democratic Political Action Committee supporting Nelson’s re-election bid portrays the Sunshine State’s senior senator as an independent voice.

Just how independent is Nelson and how can the PAC backing Nelson prove his independence? Our partners at PolitiFact Florida went digging for answers.

Scott has tried to poke holes in this independent characterization, saying that Nelson moved closer in step with the Democratic Party in recent years.

Given the competing claims, PolitiFact Florida wanted to get to the bottom of his record.

Experts agreed it’s difficult to define independence, multiple studies show Nelson voted against his party more so than other Democrats. Other experts cautioned that a moderate or centrist voting record does not necessarily equate to being independent.

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