Democrat hopes are sinking.
Republican David Jolly defeated former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in Tuesday night’s special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young in Florida’s 13th Congressional District race that was viewed by both parties nationwide as a referendum on Obamacare and a preview of Democrat chances in the the fall.
Obamacare — and the Democrats — lost.
Jolly won with about 48.5 percent of almost 185,000 votes to Sink’s 46.5 percent, while Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby netted just under 5 percent, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office.
The numbers might look close, but the verdict was resounding.
Sink, who narrowly lost to Gov. Rick Scott in the 2010 election for governor, was an early favorite to win the race.
Her support from the national party included fundraisers by former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The national Democratic Party and major-league liberal donor groups like Emily’s List backed her to the hilt.
The area’s changing demographics even favored Sink, with national political analyst Larry Sabato saying the district “leans Democratic” as recently as January.
None of that saved Sink’s campaign.
“The horn is blowing,” said Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor. “Democrats who are in marginally Obama-friendly districts are going to see this and say, ‘uh-oh.’
“This was a referendum on Obamacare. He won a race he was supposed to lose.”
In a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly after he claimed victory, Jolly said the message from voters is that Democrats are “wrong on the issues.”
“What is important is that a Republican in a district that President Obama has won twice – a first time candidate going up against a hand-picked candidate … picked by the national party with all the money behind her from the very beginning – They were wrong with their message,” Jolly said. “They were wrong on the issues.”
In his victory speech to supporters in Clearwater Beach, Jolly stressed his commitment to local voters and Pinellas County issues, but the anti-Obamacare theme and the national stakes involved in his campaign came through loud and clear.
“I will always look to empower individuals and families before I look to empower government,” he said, in words that must have made President Obama cringe and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s hair stand on end.
“We must never sacrifice our Creator’s sacred gift of liberty on the altar of big government. We must never concede our freedom to those who would dare take it from us.”
Check out Jolly’s interview with Kelly here. Video of his victory speech is below.
And check out Jolly’s victory speech here.