(CNN) – As political observers keep a close eye on the U.S. House special election in Florida, the Republican nominee hoping to keep the district in GOP hands said people shouldn't draw too much from Tuesday night's results.
"This is a local race. There are local issues in this race, it comes down to local representation," David Jolly told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.
Outside spending groups, including the Democratic and Republican campaign arms for the House, have spent nearly $9 million on this race, making it the most expensive contest yet of the cycle. The massive spending sum indicates huge interest in the race.
The winner will fill a vacancy left by the late Rep. Bill Young, who was in his 22nd term when he passed away in October. But this race is only to fill the remainder of Young's term. Whoever wins will be up for re-election again in November.
The contest, which falls in a swing district in a swing state, marks the first big race ahead of this year's midterm elections. Both sides are watching carefully to see which messages do well among voters.
Jolly and his allies have been pushing a strong anti-Obamacare campaign, while his opponent, Democrat Alex Sink, is defending the health care law. For her part, she's trying to frame the Republican platform as threatening for Social Security-a message that resonates in a district with large swaths of seniors.
Sink called entitlement programs "an American promise" and said "those programs were put in place for a good reason, and I'm going to fight to protect the integrity of the Social Security and Medicare programs for all of us."
As for any national implications, Jolly told Bash that if anything, "the view of government is being tested, the President's view versus ours."
"But at the end of the day, we know that this is going to be a 50-50 race," he also said. "I think we should all be careful to draw too much from this race."
CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.