Republican David Jolly has narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a Tampa-area House district where President Obama's health care overhaul got its first test ahead of November's midterm elections and both sides spent millions auditioning national strategies. With almost 100% of the vote counted, Jolly had 48.5% of the vote to Sink's 46.7%. Libertarian Lucas Overby had 4.8%. The election was to replace 42-year Republican Rep. CW Bill Young, who died in October of cancer, and the evenly divided district had been considered a toss-up.
Jolly campaigned on repealing the health care law, saying in one ad that Sink would undermine Medicare because of Democratic-passed cuts. Sink, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, painted Jolly as an extremist who wants to "take us back" to when people were denied coverage due to existing conditions. The implications of the dueling messages for the midterm elections inspired both parties to call in star advocates like Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan, in addition to blanketing the district with ads, calls, and mailings.