Jolly victory

Early Referendum on Obamacare: Republican David Jolly Pulls Off Squeaker in Florida Special Election Win


By Jason Devaney and Todd Beamon

Republican David Jolly has scored a surprise victory in Florida’s special election to fill the seat held by the late Rep. Bill Young.

According to official figures, Jolly edged Democratic candidate Alex Sink by less than 3,500 votes — 88,294 to 84,877. Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby finished a distant third with 8,799 votes.

Jolly’s share of the vote was 48.52 percent, with Sink capturing 46.64 percent and Overby 4.84 percent.

The most recent opinion polls had Sink leading the race by between 7 and 9 percent. Sink, 65, conceded defeat shortly before 8 p.m., less than an hour after the polls had closed.

The race had become almost a referendum on Obamacare, political observers believe, although after the result was announced Jolly insisted it was more than that.

He said people believe that there is too much government interference in ordinary citizens’ lives and Obamacare is emblematic of that. “It cripples the economy. It hurts our employment,” he said.

But Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement to The Hill, “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.”

“Obama won the district when he ran for president [both times],” [pollster Doug] Schoen said in an exclusive interview. “Sink won the district when she ran for governor. It says to me that the Democratic brand is in trouble. Maybe not big trouble, but certainly in serious trouble.”

Young, who died in October after nearly 42 years in the House, was also a Republican. The election to replace him in the 13th District, located in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area drew national attention as it became focused on healthcare instead of local issues as both parties tested their campaign strategies ahead of the midterm elections in November.

The Florida election served as an audition for how the campaigns could play out this year. Healthcare will be the main topic of conversation and debate.

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