Jolly Good: GOP Holds on to Fla. Seat in Special Election

by Andrew Johnson

In what some political analysts say could be an indicator of what is to come in November, Republican candidate David Jolly won a close race over Democrat Alex Sink in Tuesday’s special election to fill Florida’s 13th congressional district. With all precincts reporting, Jolly won by 3,417 votes, capturing 48.4 percent of the electorate to Sink’s 46.5 percent.

The race was to fill the seat of the late Bill Young, a Republican who served the area for nearly 43 years before passing away in January. But despite Young’s long tenure in area, the district was largely seen as a toss-up. President Obama had won the district in both 2008 and 2012. Additionally, during her failed 2010 gubernatorial race, Sink also won the district.

Members from both parties considered the special election to be a test bed of sorts for where the electorate’s stood on national issues. Republicans are painting the victory as a sign of the country’s dissatisfaction with Obamacare and a rejection of the Obama administration’s policies.

“Tonight, one of Nancy Pelosi’s most prized candidates was ultimately brought down because of her unwavering support for ObamaCare, and that should be a loud warning for other Democrats running coast to coast,” National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Greg Walden said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Democrats are tamping down concerns and vow to put efforts to win the seat in November, where they feel they have a better shot. “Democrats will fight for FL-13 in the midterm, when the electorate is far less heavily tilted toward Republicans,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel. “Despite those millions from Republican outside groups, they underperformed because the only message they offered voters — repealing the ACA — is out of touch and failed to bring them even close to their historically wide margins.”

More than $9 million was put in to the special election, with Sink’s campaign outspending Jolly, a former lobbyist, by a 4-to-1 margin.