Although 0bamacare wasn't the core issue in the Tampa, FL-area district, both Sink and Jolly made clear their respective stances on 0bamacare during their campaign. While acknowledging the flawed 0bamacare rollout and trouble-plagued healthcare.gov website, Sink stated that the Affordable Care Act was flawed and that she was favor of 'fixing' the law. Jolly, however, said he was in favor of a full repeal of the law if elected.
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 -- which revolves in part around the Affordable Care Act.
Jolly's election night headquarters in Clearwater Beach erupted into loud cheers as it became clear he was the winner. In his victory speech, Jolly simultaneously struck a conciliatory tone and expressed gratitude for his mentor, Young, and Young's family. Jolly was introduced by former "Price is Right" game show host Bob Barker, via video. Young's two adult sons were also onstage with Jolly, and he embraced them at the end of his speech.
Meanwhile, national Republican groups swiftly got to work casting Jolly's victory as a blow to ObamaCare and those who support it.
“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," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. "Pinellas County voters have made the right choice; David will be a dedicated and thoughtful representative for them in Congress.”
The electoral victory comes despite Jolly trailing in early voting to Sink and Libertarian candidate Lucas Overbay getting nearly 5% of the vote. Although the Pinellas County congressional district was home to the longest-serving Republican in the House of Representatives, the district narrowly went to Obama in the 2012 Presidential election. With nearly 100% of the vote counted on Tuesday's special election, Jolly had 48.5% of the vote while Sink had 46.7%. Both parties had sent out
While pundits are cautioning against using the FL13 race as a bellweather for the 2014 midterms, this is the first chance either the Democrats or Republicans had to use Obamacare as an election issue in a competitive district since key provisions of the law went into effect.
Meanwhile in California, Republican Kevin Faulconer was sworn in as the mayor of San Diego. Faulconer, a former city councilman, garnered 43% of the vote in a special election in November 2013 to replace disgraced Democrat mayor Bob Filner. This set up a runoff between Faulconer and fellow city councilman, Democrat David Alvarez last month. Despite money coming in from big name donors, gains by Democrats in 2012 an endorsement from President Obama and campaigning across the border in Tijuana, Mexico by Alvarez, Alvarez lost to Faulconer by nearly 10 points in the runoff.