David Jolly’s victory Tuesday in the U.S. House District 13 special election represents a clear repudiation of Obamacare.
Jolly built a campaign meant to appeal to faithful Republicans and front-and-center in that campaign was his vow to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. The message obviously appealed to independents as well.
On Tuesday, voters chose his conservative platform over the pledge by Democrat Alex Sink to fix Obamacare and work as a consensus builder in Washington. Sink is a centrist who probably gave Democrats their best chance at a district that is fairly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
But she could not ease voters’ anxieties about the massive government overreach of Obamacare. And it didn’t hurt Jolly’s cause that he was born in the district, while Sink only recently moved there from Thonotosassa to run for the seat.
Jolly is a thoughtful man, with strong conservative values. But he also pledges to be independent-minded and we’re confident he will display the grit that repeatedly propelled the late C.W. “Bill” Young to victory when running for this congressional seat over the past four decades. Young, who died in October, never let party politics deter him from doing what was best for constituents. He was strong on defense while supporting environmental protections, and he was a fiscal conservative who balanced budget cuts with investments in infrastructure that benefited the entire Tampa Bay area.
Jolly’s familiarity with the inner workings in Washington from his years as an aide and general counsel to Young should help the area when Congress begins considering deep cuts to military budgets. He also has vowed to support policies that will rein in spending and help balance the nation’s bloated budget.
Sink, the former state chief financial officer and bank executive who narrowly lost the governor’s race four years ago, mostly sought to take a middle ground. Though she rejected the call to repeal Obamacare, Sink stressed the law’s shortcomings and the need for remedies. But the majority of voters undoubtedly understood she would have been forced to side with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and a national Democratic Party that is far to the left of most the district’s residents and, we believe, most Americans.
Jolly was wise to hammer away at the unpopular Obamacare. Democrats around the nation should be worried about this outcome. Maybe this will get them to consider an overhaul of the health care act.
That issue, and the fact a Democrat had not won the district in decades, fueled an unprecedented amount of spending on negative advertisements that misrepresented both candidates. But Jolly’s victory suggests to us that voters know what they want, and it’s not Obamacare.