The results are in on the toss-up special election in an extra-swingy district widely characterized as a referendum on the popularity of ObamaCare as well as a bellwether for this November’s midterms, and… Boom.
Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink on Tuesday in a Tampa-area House district where President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul got its first test ahead of November’s midterm elections and Democrats and Republicans spent millions of dollars auditioning national strategies for the rest of the year.
With almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Jolly had 48.5 percent of the vote to Sink’s 46.7 percent. Libertarian Lucas Overby had 4.8 percent.
Sink conceded shortly before 8 p.m.
The implications of the dueling messages for the midterm elections inspired both parties to call in star advocates like President Bill Clinton and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in addition to blanketing the district with ads, calls and mailings. More than $11 million has been spent on the race, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks government information.
Those are some pretty crazy cash monies for a special election, with Sink’s campaign doing the lion’s share of the spending. I don’t want to overanalyze the implications here too hard for the midterm races dotted all over the country, and it did turn out to be a tight race, but… Democrats cannot be feeling good about this. They were really gunning for a victory here to help feed the pre-midterm national narrative that, Hey, ObamaCare’s not so terribly unpopular after all!, not to mention test out some more of their war-on-women-mongering. Sink was pretty stalwart about her general support for ObamaCare (“we can’t go back to letting insurance companies doing whatever they want; instead of repealing the law, we need to keep what’s right and fix what’s wrong”), and this does not seem to bode well for them.
Most of the Senate battles are in a lot LESS friendly places for Dems than #fl13
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) March 11, 2014
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) March 12, 2014
In FL13, if best GOP does is win a close race in a seat they’ve held for 58yrs it doesn’t bode well for making ACA a signature issue.
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) March 11, 2014