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Republican wins fiercely contested Fla. House race

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 7:42 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at 6:01 a.m.

 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.

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