The day after Republican David Jolly defeated former state CFO Alex Sink in a special congressional election, the candidates and their supporters weighed in on what the contest meant and where they go from here.
Jolly appeared on "Fox & Friends" on Fox News on Wednesday morning and said his win shows Democrats will have problems in November defending President Barack Obamas federal health-care law. During the campaign, Jolly looked to link Sink to the law.
"I think it gives Democrats reason to worry going into November," Jolly told Fox News.
Slade OBrien, who leads the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), agreed with Jolly that his opposition to the health-care law helped him win on Tuesday night.
Last night, Floridians sent a crystal clear message to candidates and elected officials alike who voted in favor of Obamacare or still support it, OBrien said on Wednesday. The presidents health-care law is a total disaster that is hurting Americans from all walks of life, and those who continue to support it will pay a steep price.
The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) also agreed that Obamacare helped doom Sink and insisted it boded well for the GOP to pick up the U.S. Senate come November.
A Republican won a special election that all the experts predicted would go for the Democrats, the NRSC informed supporters via email early on Wednesday morning. The reason? Just like Senate Democrats Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieau, and Mark Udall this Democrat candidate embraced Obamacare. Tonight, she delivered her concession speech.
"In the words of political analyst Chuck Todd, Most of the Senate battles are in a lot less friendly places for Dems, the NRSC added. This is the year we hold Senate Democrats accountable for ignoring the will of the American people.
Other groups insisted other issues helped propel Jolly over Sink. National Right to Life claimed on Wednesday that Jollys win was a victory for opponents of abortion.
David Jollys victory in Florida is a clear victory for the right-to-life movement, said Carol Tobias, the president of National Right to Life. The contrast between David Jolly and Alex Sink on the life issues could not have been clearer and pro-life voters made their voices heard loud and clear.
While Jolly and conservatives celebrated victory, Sink and her supporters licked their wounds.
The Democratic Congressional Committee (DCCC) tried to downplay Sinks loss even though she was far better known than Jolly when the race started and, unlike the Republican, had no primary opposition. The DCCC sent out a memo late Tuesday arguing the swing district was Republican-leaning and Jolly underperformed here.
Despite Republicans spending millions to salvage a district they have held for six decades, Republicans underperformed because the only message they offered voters repealing the ACA is out of touch and failed to bring them close to their historically wide margins, the DCCC insisted. The FL-13 electorate doesnt reflect the general election landscape Democrats will face in November and tilted heavily Republican in this low-turnout special election, with public polling showing a 13-point party-ID advantage for Republicans among likely voters.
In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the DCCC, held a conference call with the media on Wednesday and insisted his party will field a credible candidate against Jolly in November. Israel said he hopes Sink tries again, though she had told the media before her loss that she had no interest in running again if Jolly beat her.
Libertarian Lucas Overby, who took almost 5 percent on Tuesday, left open the door to another attempt though he informed supporters he did not see himself as a politician.
I did not run for office to advance a political career, Overby insisted on Wednesday. I got involved for you guys and we fought this fight for you guys. All said and done, I regret nothing of this race or the work put into it.
For those asking what my next move is, the honest answer is, I don't know, Overby added. Nothing is off the table at this point, but again I didn't come here to build a political career, I came here because helping people and getting people engaged is my passion. I have a lot to think about and consider, but I promise to remain open and honest with all of you throughout that process.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.