Republican David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink in Florida's special House election tonight. The race's outcome was believed by many to be keen indicator as to how the November midterm elections will go, and if the anti-Obamacare platform Jolly employed could lead to victory. In January, Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg called this "the race Democrats can't afford to lose." They did.
Though Sink was leading in many polls and outspent her rival three to one on television ads (though outside interest groups spent more than both candidates, mostly on attack ads. Republican outside groups spent about $1.3 million more than Democrats), she lost by a narrow margin:
Neither candidate was incumbent; C. W. Bill Young died in office last year. Though Young was a Republican (and the last Democrat to hold the seat was back in 1954), the district voted for Obama over Romney in the 2012 election (by just 1.5 percent).
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is spinning Sink's loss by saying that special elections are a "poor predictor of November success" and that Sink lost because outside groups spent so much against her. The electorate, the DCCC claims, is "tilted heavily for Republicans." That Sink lost by such a slim margin proves that Democrats "can not only put the race in play but can compete for the seat in the friendlier midterm environment."
It is estimated that $12.7 million was spent on Florida's 13th district campaign. Jolly will be running for re-election this November.