Despite smear ads, Jolly won race Dems couldn’t afford to lose

Rep. David Jolly

Newly elected congressman David Jolly talked with Fox and Friends about his win in the Special Election on March 11 in Florida U.S. House Dist. 13. (Photo by Day on the Day)

David Jolly, former aide to Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), won the Florida Dist. 13 seat in the U.S. House after Democrats mounted a massive TV ad smear campaign. One pundit said Dem ads outpaced GOP ads by more than 3-1.

Josh Kraushaar ‏[@HotlineJosh], politics editor for Washington insider magazine National Journal, acknowledged via Twitter Dems’ outside groups spent more than the GOP:

“Democrats — including candidate and outside groups spent $5.4M in #FL13. GOP and outside groups: $4.5M.”

At the beginning of this year, a columnist for Roll Call wrote an article about the race with the headline, “The race Democrats can’t afford to lose.”

Jolly told Fox and Friends on Wednesday, after grabbing a nap between 3-4 a.m., the race proved, “All politics are local”, quoting  former Dem Speaker of the House the late Tip O’Neill, rabid partisan who was a perpetual thorn in President Ronald Reagan’s side.

Jolly attributed the loss partly to Democrats’ messaging, saying his opponent Alex Sink’s “message on Obamacare evolved.” Sink took the position the healthcare tax law can be fixed. Jolly said the people rejected government intruding on individual rights, commentary on the diktat taxing you heavily if you don’t or can’t purchase health insurance.

Jolly said he offered specific solutions to problems with healthcare, and he heard many stories in the district about increases in premiums, canceled policies, and increased costs for businesses. He said Dem messaging was “just rhetoric,” but he also said Republicans need to “be prepared with solutions.”

District 13 is a true purple district, evidenced by President Barack Obama’s wins there in 2008 (52-48 percent) and in 2012 (50-49 percent). The outcome reflected that near-even division of Republican and Democrat voters, with a sizable minority of those who classify themselves as independents too.

There was a libertarian candidate in the Jolly-Sink battle, and he pulled in 4.83 percent of the vote. It’s hard to tell whether he pulled more from the GOP or Dems, but it is also obvious those indie voters are up for grabs and are the most logical bloc for either party to target as November approaches.

On social media, many Dems posted messages suggesting they were shocked Sink lost, while others blamed the candidate for the loss. The Roll Call article before the election was fairly objective, but it also gave the reader the feeling Dems would win:

“Given all of the advantages that Sink has — the district, her experience and proven electoral success, her money in the bank and her united party — and the problems the GOP nominee will face, shouldn’t the likely Democratic nominee be a clear favorite to win the special election, getting her party one seat closer to the majority in November?”

It’s useful to note Sink has won one statewide race. She is now a two-time loser, having also lost the governor’s race to Republican Rick Scott in 2010.

Jolly will have to run again in November because the race he just won was a special election after Young died. Jolly was optimistic on Fox and Friends, telling them that at the end of the day, the GOP “view of government” is the one that’s “right for the future of our country.”

(Analysis by Kay B. Day/March 12, 2014)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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