Republican wins fiercely contested Fla. House race

McClatchy Washington BureauMarch 11, 2014 

CORRECTION Florida Special Election

Republican David Jolly smiles Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Clearwater Beach, Fla., after defeating Democrat Alex Sink in an election to the U.S. House, to replace 42-year Republican Rep. CW Bill Young, who died in October of cancer.


 Republican David Jolly won a tough, nationally-watched congressional race in Florida Tuesday over Democrat Alex Sink, a big boost for Republicans and a huge blow to Democrats.

The race to replace former Rep. Bill Young, a Republican who died last fall, was seen as a harbinger of races to come. Republicans tried to make it a referendum of sorts on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Democrats saw a chance to win in a district that President Barack Obama carried in 2012.

Both sides spent heavily--the Tampa Bay Times estimated $12 million was spent on the special election. Much of the money came from independent groups based outside the district trying to get their messages across.

Jolly, a former Young aide, was initially the underdog against the better-known Sink, who lost the 2010 governor's race.

Reaction was swift. "From the beginning of this race, Democrats knew this would be an uphill battle; in a district represented by a Republican for the last 58 years, in a race where Republicans' outside allies poured millions into a steady barrage of false attacks," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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