Republican Party candidate David Jolly pulled off a surprising victory in Florida on Tuesday, defeating Democratic favorite Alex Sink, which has many believing the upset is a sign of things to come. Jolly was clearly the underdog in the special election race and faced a number of challenges, including a lack of campaign funding and a Libertarian Party candidate who managed to rake in five percent of the vote.
The district seat was up for grabs after the death of Rep. Bill Young, and was considered to be a must-win for Democrats. The race seemed to be a shoo-in for Sink, as the district tends to lean left, with President Obama winning the district by four votes in 2008 and one vote in 2012. These results led political analysts to believe that while the race would be close, Sink would almost certainly manage a victory. Sink seemed to have the odds stacked in her favor, including raising over $1 million dollars more in campaign funds than her challenger.
Many in the Republican Party viewed Jolly as weak, and did not seem shy about voicing their disapproval, which is all the more reason to believe this victory in Florida is a sign of things to come, not just for Democrats, but Republican Party incumbents as well. It seems clear that people all across the country are tired of politics as usual, and are starting to scour the landscape looking for potential candidates who stand on principle, rather than party allegiance.
Democrats believed that if Sink lost the election, it would indicate the American people are not happy with President Obama and the Democratic Party, which means Democrats will have their work cut out for them come November. Jolly’s victory certainly gives Republicans some early momentum, which could inject a burst of energy and enthusiasm into campaigns for both the House and the Senate.
The results of this special election could also be an indication that Americans are feeling frustrated and disappointed by Obamacare. Ever since its rollout, Obamacare has been plagued by technical issues, horror stories of people losing their insurance coverage, and taxes causing employers to reduce staff and working hours. Jolly’s victory over Sink could very well be a statement of displeasure, a message to Washington that this was not the kind of “change” they signed up for when casting votes for Obama.
The American people are starting to wake up and realize that the country is in rough shape due to politicians from both parties, so electing more of the “same old, same old” is not going to fix things. This win provides Republicans with a perfect opportunity to seize the day, connect with constituents and craft policy solutions that will help heal the economy and put America back on track.
The real question, now that the Republican Party has won this major victory in Florida, is whether they will heed the sign of things to come, and listen to the statement being made by Jolly’s election, or let this opportunity slip between their fingers.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell