David Jolly eked out a win with less than 50 percent of the vote over now two-time election loser Alex Sink in a special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. We should not make more of it than there is, but here are some specifics regarding this election:
• Obamacare played a huge part in the race; Democrats who think it won’t be the primary issue in November may be deluding themselves. (And, unlike the Democratic incumbents who will be on the ballot, Sink didn’t vote for Obamacare.)
• American Crossroads spent $500,00on Jolly’s behalf. American Action Network also spent $500,000. Another mainstream group YG Network spent six figures as well. Tea party groups did little, if anything. Perhaps they aren’t much help in the trenches.
• That said, the money came out about even when all third-party activity was counted. Neither side left the candidate to fend for himself or herself.
• Could a better candidate have beaten Jolly? Sure. And a better Republican campaigner could have won by a larger margin.
• The lesson for GOP primary voters should not be that any Republican will do; rather they should be concerned that winnable seats can slip away with a poor candidate, as it almost did in the here.
• The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets called this race a bellwether. Now that the GOP candidate won, be prepared to hear that all politics is local.
• Obama couldn’t be brought in to help turn out Sink’s liberal base, no doubt because he would have hurt her more with other voters.
• The Republican National Committee claims via an e-mail blast that it rolled out a new “precinct organizing structure and a suite of data driven tools” to help identify likely supporters and make sure they turn out. It described a “new canvassing app to gather data” and a “new voter scoring tool to find the right voters.” If this is more than spin and if it can work across the country, Republicans may take some comfort that it finally has made headway on its technological deficiencies. We’ll find out in November.