When my editor suggested I write today about Florida's U.S. Senate race, I told him I might first need to inform readers we had one.
If you didn't pay much attention to it, you're not alone.
Bill Nelson didn't either. And he won.
In fact, Nelson's defeat of Republican Connie Mack IV will probably go down as one of the most boring Senate races in modern history.
There are several reasons for this — chief among them, the deal Nelson apparently made with the devil.
How else can you explain the fact that Nelson keeps cakewalking back into office?
Six years ago, his competition was Katherine Harris, who ran a train wreck of a campaign that was so bad she hasn't been in public since.
And this year, it was Mack, who never really showed up.
Sure, there were a few fiery moments in the debate when … oh, who am I kidding? I didn't even watch it.
Seriously. That was a first for me. In years past, I hung on every word of these verbal brawls.
In the Senate race before that, Harris' campaign was a national spectacle, with the most damning things about Harris coming from her own staff.
And before that, Mel Martinez and Betty Castor duked it out in a battle for the ages — one where Martinez tried to link Castor to a terrorist. (Come to think of it, what is up with Republicans and bizarro attacks on the Castor women? First, Betty and the terrorist. Then, this year, a jaw-dropping attempt to link her daughter to child-molester Jerry Sandusky?)
Basically, Florida has had one barn-burner Senate race after another. And then this year … fizzle.
"Highly unusual," was the way UCF professor Aubrey Jewett described the race marked by a "lack of substantive debate, reduced media coverage, relatively low spending — and a Republican candidate who did not really seem to want the job."
I polled three pundits. They all agreed that Mack's campaign never really got out of the gate — and that it was largely his fault.
During the primary, Mack refused to debate his GOP opponents. Mack — the son of a former U.S. senator — figured he was facing a weak field and that he would just coast to victory.
He did. But he also never got a chance to introduce himself to Floridians. Instead, his GOP opponents did so, portraying him as a spoiled kid with a sense of entitlement. "And Nelson ran with it," said former Republican Congressman Lou Frey.
By the time Mack got on his feet, he was playing "catch-up," said University of South Florida professor Susan MacManus.
But he never did. In fact, one of the best headlines Mack scored during the campaign was this one from the Palm Beach Post: "Nelson's lead dwindling in U.S. Senate race? Maybe."
It's a bad sign when your best day is one where your opponent's lead is slightly smaller … maybe.
So Mack's campaign adopted an odd strategy of attacking … the pollsters. Just for good measure, Mack started attacking the media that reported those polls as well.
All the while, Nelson just sat back, reminding voters that Mack used to work for Hooters, got into bar fights and didn't show up for work in Congress.
Nelson may be dull. But he's not dumb.
In fact, Nelson's restrained nature is probably another reason Floridians keep re-electing him.
In an age when extremists from both parties run around hair-on-fire crazy, screaming about the opposing party, Nelson just does his thing.
You may not love him. Or even really like him. But it's hard to hate him.
"Nelson is a decent guy," said Frey, the Republican. "He keeps his shirt on. He has no real blemishes on his record. And in an age where so many Americans are just tired of all these bad actors up in Washington, I think that's an important factor: He's just a decent guy."