Republicans keep House seat in Florida special election
March 11th, 2014
07:53 PM ET
8 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. imgn_desi_guy

    This is a clear indication of how the country's mood is right now. They don't believe Obama's and democratic lies any more, no matter how they try. Democrats are dividing the country by manufacturing bogus wars on different demographics for their greed for power. Shame on you liberals...
    Dr. Ben Carson 2016

    March 11, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Sean D

    The last sentence of this article, which says, "There was a massive infusion of outside ad money into the race to try to influence the outcome," should really specify that the MASSIVE infusion of money came INTO Sink's campaign. Yes, it did try to influence the outcome, or in other words... The election was ALMOST bought.

    March 11, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. He who funds your EBT card

    Congratulations David! The last thing Florida needs is an Obama supporter! Good luck and you will get my vote again in a few months!! Alex- go sign up for Obamacare as it seems you're out of the congressional loop-hole.

    March 11, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  4. ?!?wut?!?

    What a victory. He'll have to do it all over again soon.

    March 11, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. DC Johnny

    This is good news. We need more of these wins nationwide.

    And by "these wins", I mean where promising first-time citizens replace aging, life-long career politicians.

    March 11, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. James Brown

    Looks like the independent spoiled the race for the democrat.

    March 11, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. dhag

    So BO narrowly won in 2008 and 2012 in this county, did we legalize pot in Florida without my knowledge because you are high as a kite! Do so research "journalist", 2012 Obama won by 6 points and in 2008 by 8, is this what you call "narrowly"? Here let me give you the definition of narrow – (esp. of a victory, defeat, or escape) with only a small margin; barely achieved. Narrow is a field goal not a touchdown. Sink won the county by 5 points, that is a little more narrow but doesn't quite fit the definition of narrow. You were so quick to point out Young's figures but how about pointing out Obama's as well as Sink's for comparison. Not fair to give half truths you know, gives people a bad perception of the news and how well you tell it.

    March 11, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. John Smith

    They Cheat!

    March 11, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. not really news

    It took hours and hours and hours for this district to get people through the voting booths just a year and a half ago.. but now with the republican house seat on the line, they are suddenly able to get all votes counted and call a winner before 8 in the evening? No, this doesn't appear to be fixed at all.

    March 11, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Bayley0402

    I guess that folks still have their heads somewhere other than where it should be. Keep voting against your own best interest but don't complain when you get exactly what you voted for.

    March 11, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. JP

    "The outcome does not change anything for Democrats in their calculus for retaking the House in next November's midterms"

    like how CNN is a cheerleader for the Progressive cause?

    March 11, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. ricco

    with the gop being so against global-cleaning florida will get what it deserves, a too late flooded state with their political favorites turning their back on them. keep up your small thinking, florida. we'll watch your tears of heartache add to your sooner than you think flooded mess.

    March 11, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. factsareunpopular

    Both parties are the same and the dumb down american voters are sheep

    March 11, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    No third party the dem wins.

    March 11, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. I OpT OUT

    Goodbye obamacare and good riddance.

    March 11, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. meki60

    Great, hope he does not join the rhinos

    March 11, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Mark Harris

    Starting early next year the party ends and the consequences begin. We are going to have to build new prisons to hold Obama and his cronies.

    March 11, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. catina

    This election loss for the Democrats is unfortunate!! Attn Democrats ... remember what does not kill us makes us stronger!!

    March 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. mrcasual77

    but, but, but Republicans were never going to win anything again. They'll never see the white house again. They'll be a non-factor because of the rising latino populations & Democrat pandering to this minority including selling out America to illegals & the Mexican drug cartel. What happened?

    March 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. William

    Stings a little, huh?

    March 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    I am really surprise the GOP candidate did not even get 50% of the vote?,Sink did very well & im sure she can surely beat him in Nov, any dem,will win in Nov,

    March 11, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. hkirwin

    the Dims out spent the right 4 to 1 and lost. Wait until the mid-terms. Obama go home and take the left with you.

    March 11, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. Moses

    Unfortunately, people don't realize that much of the funding for Libertarian candidates comes from the ultra right wing of the Republican party, knowing that Libertarians split the Democratic vote. I would be surprised if the Koch brothers donated millions to the Overby campaign.

    March 11, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Morgan

    Have too thank Overby that idiot

    March 11, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. Deac

    A sign of things to come in the mid terms

    March 11, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
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