Republican David Jolly Beats Alex Sink in FL Special Election
Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the Florida House race largely seen as a referendum on ObamaCare and campaign strategies for 2014 midterm elections.
Jolly was on “The Kelly File” tonight to discuss his victory.
“The concern about ObamaCare is a view of government that has more government in our life, more government in our businesses. It cripples the economy, it hurts employment,” he said.
Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats knew this election would be an uphill battle and that it does not spell trouble for Democrats.
“Well I think my new colleague Nancy Pelosi might be engaging in some spin control this evening,” Jolly said as a crowd cheered behind him.
“The reason we won this race is because we stood on issues and for a message that is right for our community and right for the future of our country,” Jolly said.
Jolly said he will run again in November.
Read more below via Fox News:
With nearly 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.
The race to replace the late Rep. Bill Young was considered a tossup, and was cast as a political bellwether, and a testing ground for each party's messaging strategy, revolving in part around the Affordable Care Act.
"As your congressman, I will always be accessible. I will serve humbly and with honor," Jolly told supporters at a victory rally. "While this campaign has seemed at times to be partisan, your next congressman is not partisan."
Jolly, a former aide to Young, had, along with Republican groups, spent millions to hammer his Democratic opponent over ObamaCare.
Sink, who narrowly lost the 2010 governor's race to incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, had cautiously embraced the health law -- while insisting it urgently needs fixing. She had played down its importance in the special election.
"I hear a number of different issues that people are concerned about -- like protecting Social Security and Medicare," she said. "They're frustrated with Washington, believe that Washington is not working for them."
The perception of what the race means 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 was spent on the race, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks government information. More than one in four registered voters in the district is older than 65, a population that could account for more than half of those casting ballots.
The battle for Florida's 13th District seat is a prequel of sorts to the national fight this year over who controls Congress in the last two years of Obama's final presidential term. The House is expected to remain under Republican control. But in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to leverage Obama's unpopularity and his health care law's wobbly start to gain the six seats required to control the 100-member chamber.
That made the race in Florida a pricey proving ground for both parties, with the candidates the faces of the effort.
Jolly, backed by Republicans and outside groups, said Sink would undermine Medicare because of Democratic-passed cuts to programs under the health law.
Sink and her allies, meanwhile, painted Jolly an extremist who wanted to privatize Social Security and gut Medicare.
Clinton recorded a phone call last week seeking local volunteers to help with Sink's campaign, and a half dozen House Democrats emailed fundraising appeals to their own supporters on her behalf. More than a third of Jolly's campaign contributions came from members of Congress.
Meanwhile, Ryan joined Jolly on a conference call with voters, while Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul recorded a phone message for the GOP nominee aimed at supporters of Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby.
While Republicans held the congressional seat for four decades until Young's death last year, the district's voters favored Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. The district is 37 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 24 percent independent.
Sink outspent Jolly by more than 3 to 1 on television advertising, though outside groups aligned with the GOP have helped narrow the overall Democratic advantage.
Fox News' John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.