The Slatest

Republican David Jolly wins Florida Special Election in Referendum on Obamacare

Democratic Congressional candidate Alex Sink lost to Republican David Jolly in a special election of Florida’s 13th District on March 11, 2014.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The results of Florida’s special Congressional election are in and Republican David Jolly has won, according to the Associated Press. The election in Florida’s 13th District has been cast as the first major test of voter sentiment towards President Obama’s health care law – and shown that Obamacare may be a narrow loser. Jolly beat out Democratic challenger Alex Sink by just a few thousand votes, or 48.5 percent of the vote to Sink’s 46.7 percent.

Both Democrats and Republicans poured millions of dollars in the race, hoping a win in the swing district would set the tone for upcoming midterm elections later this year. Republicans ran ads linking Sink to Obama and the Affordable Care Act, which she said should be upheld but fixed. Here’s Politico with the details:

National Republican groups…combined to spend nearly $5 million, much of it on tying Sink to the unpopular Affordable Care Act and painting her as a steadfast ally of President Barack Obama. Democrats, meanwhile, poured in nearly $4 million, much of it on portraying Jolly as a cold-hearted opponent of entitlement programs and abortion rights.

Now the analysis begins. Both sides will head back to their respective corners to examine tactics, messaging, and why this election is or isn’t a prequel to the fall.

Jolly will fill the seat of GOP Rep. Bill Young, which was made vacant when Young passed away in October after serving more than four decades in the House. Though the election received national attention, most agree it will do little to change the balance of power in the House. Democrats need to grab 17 seats to win back a majority – a feat nobody is betting on.

Elsewhere in Slate, David Weigel explains why Florida’s 13th District Election is the Most Important Election in America (Tonight).