CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. – Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink on Tuesday in a Tampa-area House district where President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul got its first test ahead of November’s midterm elections and Democrats and Republicans spent millions of dollars auditioning national strategies for the rest of the year.
With almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Jolly had 48.5 percent of the vote to Sink’s 46.7 percent. Libertarian Lucas Overby had 4.8 percent.
Sink conceded shortly before 8 p.m.
The implications of the dueling messages for the midterm elections inspired both parties to call in star advocates like President Bill Clinton and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in addition to blanketing the district with ads, calls and mailings.
The battle for Florida’s 13th District seat is a prequel of sorts to the national fight this year over who controls Congress in the last two years of Obama’s final presidential term.
The House is expected to remain under Republican control. But in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to gain the six seats required to control the 100-member chamber.