Republicans keep House seat in Florida special election
March 11th, 2014
07:53 PM ET
9 years ago

Republicans keep House seat in Florida special election

(CNN) - Republican David Jolly won Tuesday's special election in Florida's 13th Congressional District.

He will fill out the term of his former boss, longtime Republican Rep. Bill Young, who died in October.

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Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink, who conceded the race more than an hour after the polls closed.

The outcome does not change anything for Democrats in their calculus for retaking the House in next November's midterms. They still need to pick up 17 seats.

Political handicappers consider that a tall order, considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts nationwide.

Jolly served as a former general counsel for Young and also worked as a lobbyist.

"Tonight brings an end to this election," a victorious Jolly told supporters. "Tomorrow provides the opportunity for us to embark together on a new journey of representation here in Pinellas County."

Sink, the former Florida Chief Financial Officer, narrowly lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Rick Scott.

She conceded the contest more than an hour after the polls closed, expressing pride in her campaign and thanking volunteers and supporters.

"I have congratulated David Jolly and wish him the best success in representing the voices of Pinellas in Congress," she said.

Florida-13 is a swing district in a swing state. It covers most of Pinellas County between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, including parts of St. Petersburg.

While Young captured 58% of the vote in his 2012 re-election, President Barack Obama narrowly carried the district in his 2008 and 2012 victories.

The district has one of highest concentration of senior voters in the nation.

While the candidates and local matters weighed heavily in the race, Obamacare was also a key issue in the election.

While a contest this far out from the midterms rarely offers a preview of what will actually happen in November, the election was seen by some pundits as a potential bellwether.

There was a massive infusion of outside ad money into the race to try to influence the outcome.

Dueling congressional campaign committees fired off reaction after the results came in with their versions of what Jolly's win means for the midterms.

The National Republican Congressional Committee said the results are referendum on the effects of the Democratic agenda and Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are campaigning fiercely against.

"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 NRCC chairman Greg Walden.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee congratulated Sink's campaign, highlighting her efforts in a historically Republican district and pushed back on the results as a bellwether for the midterm elections.

"Democrats will fight for FL-13 in the midterm when the electorate is far less heavily tilted toward Republicans. Despite those millions from Republican outside groups, they underperformed because the only message they offered voters – repealing the ACA – is out of touch and failed to bring them even close to their historically wide margins," said the group's chairman, Rep. Steve Israel.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Alex Sink • Florida
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. Peggye

    About. Time. Fox announced this half an hour ago! And I still don't see the newso on your CABLscreen But at least you beat MSNBC. Not a word! But the biases are showing bad guys!

    March 11, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  2. Oh Well

    When the dems figure out how to show up at midterms, maybe they will win more seats, more often

    March 11, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. king

    sometimes you have to allow these folks to reap the carnage of corporate power. the Koch brothers have strike again, and they have the american people rapped around their middle fingers like a ring. its a dam shame that democracy has no more place in the american culture. if corporations with their big money can influence and fool people to give up their best interest we have just moved into the first phase of the new world order. its amazing how these repubs push the negatives of every object they find, and over power the mass positive this object give off. the american people are like cattle to the big corporations, and although wealth separations are at record levels, these folks jumps at every bull crap the repubs and their corporate masters shoves. our country is in trouble, because if more money is sucked from the masses and pushed to less and less people. the average America will get less and less important, and after a while only the rich and powerful will matter. democracy and the american people will be shoved in the back room and forgotten.

    March 11, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. fire0bama

    Congratulations, Rep. Jolly!

    March 11, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. Liberty & Freedom

    And so it begins. Can not wait until the midterm pouncing of the democrats from the senate. Maybe then the campaigner in chief will have to negotiate.

    March 11, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  6. Liberty & Freedom

    BOO YAH BABY....

    March 11, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. Bill Miller

    winner, winner. chicken dinner.

    March 11, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Natalia

    Obama care run run on Obama care

    March 11, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Tony D

    I voted Alex Sink because of this..
    "Jolly and his allies have been pushing a strong anti-Obamacare campaign, while his opponent, Democrat Alex Sink, is defending the health care law."....

    Well, it looks like your Obamacare supporting loser is staying in Florida where she belongs. The rest of the country celebrates the defeat of another Obamacare supporter. This is just the warm up for November Democrats. 2010 is going to look like a picnic compared to what you have coming this November. I can hardly wit to get Harry Reid back to obscurity and listen to his whining and crying as the filibuster is removed for everything and he is rendered totally impotent.

    March 11, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. Nanners1

    Any surprises here? old people = fox.

    March 11, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. BudW

    2014 is going to be very hard on the democrat party

    March 11, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. Hillary 2016


    March 11, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. BHinLV

    Why do I suspect the election would have for certain have been "seen as a bell weather for the midterm elections" if the Dem had won?

    March 11, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. JohnCRoberts

    And so it begins!

    America has risen its head.

    March 11, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. G_Edwards

    "The reports of the GOP's death have been greatly exaggerated."


    March 11, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. K Douglas

    Looks like the Senate is going to fall to the GOP this year. Haven't politicians learned to stop overreaching. All Obama had to do was be a good moderate president and he couldn't even do that.....

    March 11, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. carol

    Many people in Florida don't know what is best for them and scare easy. This is a sad result. I'm sure we will replace our " conservative " drug user with another "conservative" in the next special election–we never learn.

    March 11, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. Zach

    Ugh. Democrats do NOT need to take the House. They have the Senate. Any time a party has both chambers of Congress + the presidency is a BAD day for democracy. That would be the same if the Republicans controlled it all too. There needs to be objection and compromise or else you let one side run away with too much and it rarely leads to good ideas. Its like people who only get their news from Fox or MSNBC.... the echo chamber never tells you you're wrong, even when you are. Both sides need the other to keep them honest, however both sides (sadly the republicans more so) need to learn to freaking compromise and not be utterly rigid in ideology. Anyone all right or all left is ALL CRAZY.

    March 11, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    Obamacare is popular in FL,Dems took over VA,& they will take FL13 back in nov,So GOP dont rejoice

    March 11, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  20. Thugvon

    Alex Sunk!

    March 11, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. dbrown

    WOOT!!! WOOT!!!!

    March 11, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Bob

    Guess all the Democrat polls being touted by CNN and others were wrong showing Sink way ahead. It was close, but it helps Sink that she had tons of time to prepare and attack while the GOP went through a primary.

    March 11, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    It just goes to show that the GOP voters in Florida who elected a CONVICTED FELON for govenor , Rick Scott , are DUMB enough to elect a CROOKED LOBBIST to congress, get a brain GOP voters, I'm glad I don't live in your crooked district!!!!!

    March 11, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. Deacon


    March 11, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. no, that's wrong

    Nice to see my fellow Floridians continue to make themselves a laughingstock.

    March 11, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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