Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sink: "Although we are disappointed, the bars are open--let's enjoy our friendship"

Alex Sink, the Democrat candidate for Congress in the Special Election in District-13, had a jovial concession speech.  Shortly after the polls closed showing that she had lost by two percent, Sink  addressed supporters to let them know that she had called her victorious opponent Congressman-Elect Dave Jolly (R-FL 13th) and thank her supporters.  All of that is standard fare. However Sink's plucky peroration  "[A]though we are disappointed, the bars are open--let's enjoy our friendship" is unusual in openly embracing drowning sorrows.


A more subtle detail about Sink's concession speech is the lack of fellow Democrat dignitaries on the dais.   Sink was not a shot in the dark candidate.  Sink was married to Bill McBride, a Florida politician who unsuccessfully ran for Governor in 202.  In her own right, Sink had been Florida's Chief Financial Officer before gaining the Democrat nomination for Governor in 2010 and only lost in the general election by 1%.

When 22 term Congressman Bill Young (R-FL 13th) died in October, a special election was called in a Pinellas County based District that is only R+1 and had voted for Obama in the last two Presidential elections.  The Florida Democrat party cleared the field for Sink to run.

Over $10 million was spent in this Special Election campaign and Democrats outspent unknown Jolly on negative television ads 4 to 1. Democrats sent high profile surrogates, including former President Bill Clinton, to campaign for sink.  So much was invested in this race as Democrats considered it a must win since this Special Election was a test run for Democrat messaging for Obamacare.  Sink campaigned that she would help fix Obamacare, whereas Tea Party inspired attorney David Jolly advocated complete repeal.

Congressman-elect David Jolly (R-FL 13th)
Jolly can not savor his success for long.  The special election was only for the nine months remaining on the term.  Moreover, Jolly only won by two percent which is not a comfortable margin of victory in that district. However, if one considers how much Jolly was outspent along with the high profile elements of the Sink campaign, this Special Election may be a bellweather to Democrat success in the November General Election. Perhaps "[A]though we are disappointed, the bars are open--let's enjoy our friendship" may be prophetic words for Democrats.

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