(CNN) - Fresh after the first debate for the March 11 special congressional race in Florida, two Republican groups announced large ad buys backing the GOP nominee, David Jolly.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed the Republican in a 30-second spot released Tuesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"If you want a strong voice for Pinellas County in Washington, send Dave Jolly to Congress. I support him, and I hope you will too," Bush says in the ad.
The American Action Network, a group with deep roots in conservative circles, announced Tuesday it was running a $500,000 ad buy against Democratic nominee Alex Sink, attacking her for "lost jobs" and "lost pensions" during her time as the state's chief financial officer of Florida. Sink was also the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2010.
The new spots are the latest examples of third party groups cutting sizable checks for the special House election in Florida's 13th Congressional District, a race seen by many as a bellwether for the 2014 midterm elections later this year.
The winner will fill the remainder of the late Republican Rep. Bill Young's term, who died in October. Young, who was first elected to Congress in 1970, was the longest serving Republican in the House.
The district covers most of Pinellas County and parts of St. Petersburg and it's up for grabs: While Young captured 58% of the vote in his 2012 re-election, President Barack Obama narrowly carried the district. Obama also won it 2008, grabbing 51% support
A bulk of the money spent by outside groups has been directed against Sink by Republican groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Hitting back, Sink went up with an ad of her own against Jolly last week.
Jolly and Sink went head to head Monday night, along with Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby, in a debate sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9, St. Petersburg College and the AARP.
Topics that came up during the showdown included the Affordable Care Act, the size of government, and the state's upcoming ballot initiative on medical marijuana.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Jolly tried to paint himself as an opponent of big government, while Sink defended Obamacare.
As for the medical marijuana debate, Sink said she supports limited use of marijuana for medical purposes, while Jolly opposes the initiative.
CNN's Ashley Killough, Deirdre Walsh and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.