Just a year ago, they were their parties' hand-picked shoe-ins, career politicians who had done their time.
Bill McCollum picked up the endorsement of his own g-o-p for governor, and Congressman Kendrick Meek won the backing of most mainstream democrats for u-s senate.
Now republican newcomer Rick Scott holds a commanding lead over McCollum, and Democratic outsider Jeff Greene is beating meek.
For nearly all of Florida's history, the political parties have had a controlling influence over elections, nurturing the candidates who ultimately go before you, the voter.
But these days, there's no need for a republican headquarters, or for that matter, a Democratic home base, not with the money and star power the mavericks are bringing to bear.
That's a troubling thought for Pete Dunbar.
He's a former Pinellas county state representative who relied on the Republican Party to help raise the money to get him elected.
In return, he had to be loyal to his GOP friends.
But being millionaires, Greene and Scott don't have to deal with their party establishments.
What they've done is put themselves outside it, and it's a very expensive ticket. They're being able to use their own wealth and create an image for themselves that is untraditional.
On the campaign trail greene and scott proclaim, unlike the typical politician, the only people they have to answer to are the voters.
The trade-off, they may not have the connections or the experience to get things done, but in the real world, barber Matt Carter says most of his clients are ready for a change.
“Most of them seem to have an attitude of, you know, whichever party's in there, it's every man for himself,” says Carter.
Not that political parties are about to disappear, but their iron grip...could be about to get a lot weaker.