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GOP’s Jolly Beats Sink in Congressional Election That Augurs Trouble for Democrats’ Midterms

| March 11, 2014

David Jolly beat Alex Sink by 1 percent in a race seen as a bellwether for the mid-term elections. (Facebook)

David Jolly beat Alex Sink by 1 percent in a race seen as a bellwether for the mid-term elections. (Facebook)

Republican David Jolly narrowly took the contentious and expensive special election on Tuesday to replace his former boss, the late Rep. Bill Young, in the Pinellas County seat in Congress that some believe is a bellwether for contests nationally this autumn.

Receiving just under 49 percent of the unofficial vote tallied by the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office, Jolly, 41, a former Young staffer, defeated Alex Sink, 65, Florida’s former chief financial officer who lost to Gov. Rick Scott in the 2010 gubernatorial contest. Sink got 48 percent.

Lucas Overby, a Libertarian from Clearwater, mustered about five percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Republican Eric Eisnaugle easily won a Central Florida primary that sets him up for a return to the state House and possibly a state leadership role by the end of the decade.

“I ran for Congress not to advance Washington, but to advance Pinellas County,” Jolly tweeted after the results were posted.

Sink expressed disappointment in the results in a release that left open her future plans.

“I have congratulated David Jolly and wish him the best success in representing the voices of Pinellas in Congress,” Sink said in the release. “My life has always been shaped by a deep commitment to service and problem solving, and I look forward to finding new ways and new avenues to continue practicing these values in pursuit of doing good for our community, our state and our country.”

For a seat that is up for election again in November, more than $9 million was spent, mostly by outside sources. Both parties viewed the election to replace Young as a critical test of their chances for success in the mid-term elections in November.

The result spells trouble for Democrats, who are expected to lose seats in the House–amplifying the Republican majority–and possibly lose the Senate, which they’ve held since 2006.


Young held the seat for more than four decades, and it has been in Republican hands for nearly 60 years, but the district narrowly went for President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Republicans played on voters’ dissatisfaction with Obama, linking Sink to the president’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare.”

“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,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden declared in a release Tuesday night.
Democrats painted Jolly as a deep inside Washington lobbyist who had worked on behalf of efforts to privatize Social Security and in support of Medicare vouchers.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to find solace in the results.

“Tonight, Republicans fell short of their normal margin in this district because the agenda they are offering voters has a singular focus – that a majority of voters oppose – repealing the Affordable Care Act that would return us to the same old broken health care system,” Wasserman Schultz said in a release.

In the state House District 44 contest, Eisnaugle, 37, a lawyer from Orlando who previously served two terms in the House, had little trouble defeating Vicky Bell, 64, an English professor at Valencia College who had served a term on the Orange County School Board.

Eisnaugle, who received more than 80 percent of the vote, will face Democrat Shaun Raja in the special general election on April 8.

The seat was opened when Steve Precourt resigned after being offered the position of executive director of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

Precourt, who was slated to leave the House this fall because of term limits, did not end up taking the expressway authority job because of a contract issue.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive

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10 Responses for “GOP’s Jolly Beats Sink in Congressional Election That Augurs Trouble for Democrats’ Midterms”

  1. confidential says:

    There we go again a privatizer of SS, etc. etc. elected. Same old same old GOP extreme agenda.
    The Florida Gerrymandering and all the other cheating really works.

  2. A.S.F. says:

    At this point, I’m beginning to hope that the Tea Party Wing-nuts get their wishes and come to experience the rapturous joys of privatized Social Security and Medicare Vouchers. It would serve them right! Be careful what you wish for (and, no–The current crop of older Neo-Conservatives should NOT be “grandfathered” into any kind of exemptions from changes they would be foisting on the rest of Americans.)

  3. anoun says:

    This may be a sign of the times.I hope.The Dems have failed in bringing this country back.They will not omit Obama care is a failure.Instead the President keeps on changing the law to make it better for the dems in the next election”s.But the problem is the American people are on to him.Dems wake up your liberal policies do not work.

  4. Steve Wolfe says:

    The interesting election dynamic here is that a Republican won a mainly urban demographic. It was the urban voter that turned Florida blue in the last two elections. But what might this mean for the next general election? I caution everyone about reading the tea leaves too soon. This might be strictly a matter of local voter’s preference for familiarity. Another possibility is an aversion for the association of Sink with Crist. Maybe this is more of a warning for Crist than Democrats at large. In any case, rule 1 says the party in power is always the most exposed to voter fatigue. I think the reason the Republicans have appeared so lame over the last 5 years is actually a strategy of “keeping your powder dry,” allowing the Democrats to swing in the wind on their own ropes (see rule 1 above). But if the expectation of another turnover of power comes true, I hope the Republicans are ready to lead competently this time, and be ready to replace Obamacare with a market-based plan that works better, instead of simply more rhetoric with an “R” beside it. One thing that Washington has become adept at is blowing smoke, regardless of party affiliation. There has to be a set of defined solutions to allow enterprise to create jobs for the willing, provide welfare for the needy, and reduce the national debt for all, without further diminishing the value of people’s savings and retirement accounts and homes, and without printing off more cash to feed Wall Street for the illusion of a good economy. We need to see GDP growth of 5-6% per year or better, and Washington spending a smaller share thereof.

  5. A.S.F. says:

    Let’s see-The Dems brought the economy back from the edge of ruin it was teetering on after the Republicans under Bush/Cheney got through with it, are finally bringing an end to the absolutely unnecessary and criminal wars and incursions started overseas by that same Republican administration, have the b*lls to at least attempt to do something about our faltering and totally unequal healthcare system, job numbers are beginning to rise again, people are beginning to build houses again, FEMA has actually worked in the cases of natural disaster that have occurred while Dems have been back in power…Oh, yes–I can see where us Dems have been total failures, especially during those stunning instances when the Tea Party crazies have done everything in their power to bring our entire government to a complete halt whenever they don’t get their way. Some people, with more of a love of bumper stickers and their own prejudices than truth, reason or progress, will twist reality into incredibly unrecognizable proportions so they can continue to justify the paranoid fantasies and self-serving agendas of their choice.

    • anoun says:

      What country did the Dems bring back.I don’t know where you live but this country is still in shambles..Tell me if I am wrong we still have troops in Afghanistan. and Iraq is about ready to fall apart.Obama care is a total failure.As far as fema it was put into full action because of a election was just down the Road.As far as the Tea party .they like to pay for what they do and not drop the cost to a future generation.As far as the Teaparty being crazy the Liberal Dems are loons.This President has had over 5 years to fix Bushes mess.He has done nothing but make things worse.So if you call 17 trillions dollars of debt as a success then than you are totally right .President Obama is a total success.

    • I/M/O says:

      The Palm Coast home was advertised as a pre foreclosure sale. As we pulled up I could see the faded Obama 2012 bumper stickers on both cars parked in the driveway.

      We left without entering the home. Some people you bail out others you do not.

      • A.S.F. says:

        @I/M/O says–I guess you never noticed all those well-to-do speculators who bought (and trashed) luxury properties because they thought they could live it up and then make a buck and then foreclosed on their “investments.” People like Bobby Ginn, who did so much for real estate in this area and other areas of Florida, don’t count in your tally of n’er do wells. Oh, I forgot…They’re JOB CREATORS. By all means, we should always be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt (and out legal system), just as we should continue to bail out Wall Street–A practice started during the last REPUBLICAN administration.

    • I/M/O says:

      Isn’t living in a Constitutional; epublic just sometimes downright amazing.

  6. barbie says:

    Democrats could win if they didn’t insist on acting like Republicans when it counted the most. Alex Sink torpedoed herself when she came out with the statement a few weeks ago that the odious Simpson-Bowles commission “deserved another look”. That’s a loser here in Florida, where seniors depend on Social Security now and will do so well into the future.

    It’s too bad the Republicans aren’t offering anything remotely resembling “different” than another fake Democrat. We all know the GOP has itching to privatize Social Security for a couple of decades now. And all you people griping about Obamacare keep conveniently forgetting it’s a freakin’ GOP PLAN (see: Romneycare). What are you complaining about, again? Either way, you were getting a conservative in this election. Floridians looking for a real alternative to more slash-and-burn governance had no one worth voting for. Again.

    Well, now you went and did it, Pinellas County–you showed the country why Democrats should be trounced later this year. Simply offering up lame variations of “But….but…but….We’re Better Than The Other Guys” doesn’t win elections–especially when you’re NOT better than the other guys. But on the other hand, what are you really getting? I’ll tell you–nothing good. If you really believe that David Jolly–or any of his GOP cronies–will fix what’s wrong with your area; will bring jobs to your area; will not cut basic services in your area which are already cut to the bone; and won’t cut your Social Security–you’re in for a rude awakening.

    In short, Democrats are throwing election after election with lame candidates and bogus policy. Republicans are taking the spoils and they intend to finish running this state into the ground, soon as they’re done scaring all the tourists off.

    Remember, Floridians–you voted for this rot. I would expect to see NO complaints about anything after the November elections. And if I do, I’m going to be merciless. You asked for it. And boy, are you gonna get it.

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