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.