Republican Jolly Wins Special Election

In a widely watched contest, Repubican David Jolly has won a special election over Democrat Alex Sink, a moderate female candidate the party thought could win in Pinellas County, Florida.  The election was held to find a replacement for the late long-time Republican Bill Young.  Jolly had been a Republican lobbyist.  Jolly won by roughly a two percent margin, with a Libertarian candidate getting five percent of the vote.  The district is a so-called swing district because though held by a Republican congressman for many years, President Obama won there twice.

The contest was widely seen as a referendum on Obamacare.  Jolly attacked Obamacare outright, while Sink said that she was not in Congress at the time, didn’t vote for it but favored fixing it.

While Republicans are pleased at the victory and feel their strategy of hammering Obamacare’s effect on voters has been vindicated, the Democrats are encouraged the vote was as close as it was.  Both sides spent lots of money ($4.9 million for Jolly vs. $3.7 million for Sink according to The Hill).  Jolly was considered as a “flawed” candidate by some because he had been a lobbyist and an underdog because he was less well known than Sink, considered by the Democrats as a strong candidate.

One of Jolly’s ads hammered Obamacare, characterized by “Canceled health plans, higher premiums, Medicare cuts, people losing their doctors, a disaster for families and seniors.”

While Republicans will be encouraged by the upset victory after polling had indicated Sink would win, it was a special election.

“The thing about special elections is, sometimes they are bellwethers and sometimes they’re not,” Aubrey Jewett said.  Jewett is a political science professor at nearby University of Central Florida (“Republican David Jolly Wins Florida Congressional Race,” Wall Street Journal, 03/11/14).

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. The most troubling part of this election is the fact that the Libertarian only got 5% of the vote.

    • Justus, we cannot agree. While sympathetic, certainly in agreement with, many libertarian views, voting for the Libertarian rather than the major party candidate closest to your views gives more leverage to the candidate you disagree with the most. If the Libertarian voters had voted for the “lesser of evils” candidate from their point of view, the margin of victory would have been seven percent — much more comfortable than two percent. In many elections, that could be the different between having a conservative politician and a very liberal one representing us. While neither major party may suit you, if your political leanings are right, keeping your vote away from the right gives a better chance for the left.

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