The smoke has cleared from Tuesday’s special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, and the Democratic Party’s washing machine is stuck on the spin cycle. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz now claims that the election’s results exposed the Republican camp’s weaknesses.
Uh, wait a minute. Didn’t Republican David Jolly beat Dem favorite Alex Sink? Indeed, he did, but a little thing like the truth didn’t stop Wasserman Schultz from claiming victory for her party.
The South Florida congresswoman has often been accused of living in her own reality, and Tuesday was no different.
“Republican special interest groups poured in millions to hold onto a Republican congressional district that they’ve comfortably held for nearly 60 years,” she said in a Democratic National Committee rapid response statement. “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.”
She accompanied her statement with a tweet:
The GOP underperformed tonight in the #FL13 – a district they've held for decades. Here's why: http://t.co/1Yb516372f
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) March 12, 2014
While it’s true that the GOP has held onto the district for 60 years, during the last 40 years, it was represented by Rep. C.W. Bill Young, a popular local Republican whose death last year prompted the special election. This was quickly picked up by another Twitter user, who noted:
@DWStweets says GOP "fell short of their normal margin in this district." Indeed, as Rep. Bill Young ran unopposed seven times.
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 12, 2014
President Obama won the district in 2008 and 2012, and so did Sink, during her unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial bid.
The Sink campaign even outspent Jolly’s by more than 3-to-1 in TV advertising, according to Fox News, although contributions from outside groups narrowed,but didn’t overcome, the Democratic advantage.
Sink’s campaign also had help from some big guns. Fox reported:
[Former President Bill] Clinton recorded a phone call last week seeking local volunteers to help with Sink’s campaign, and a half dozen House Democrats emailed fundraising appeals to their own supporters on her behalf. More than a third of Jolly’s campaign contributions came from members of Congress.
Both parties saw the race as a precursor of the 2014 midterms. If true, November should be a rout for Republicans, making the 2010 “shellacking” pale by comparison.
Wasserman Schultz wouldn’t accept that, though.
“While tonight Democrats didn’t win, we are proud of Alex and the race she ran based on a vision of opportunity for all and an agenda that would grow the middle class and protect Florida’s families,” she said.
This wasn’t lost on young, conservative Amy Lutz, who tweeted:
Yes, @DWStweets the Democrats should continue to run on #Obamacare. Let me know how that works out for you #fl13
— Amy Lutz (@amylutz4) March 11, 2014
If the last few months have proven anything, it’s that the Affordable Care Act is crippling America’s middle class and throwing more people into unemployment, underemployment and poverty. Just ask the voters who threw their support behind Jolly.
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