The Florida special election Tuesday was supposed to be an ideal chance for Democrats to show that 2014 isn’t a lost year. Instead, they were dealt another body blow, further weakening their prospects for this year’s midterms.
Democrats couldn’t have asked for a more golden opportunity.
They had the right candidate matchup: Alex Sink, a respected former statewide official who nearly won the governorship in 2010, up against a former lobbyist, Republican David Jolly. They had the right district: A swing region of Florida that appeared poised to elect a Democrat after more than four decades of GOP representation. And they certainly had the money: In a year of staggering GOP spending, Sink far outraised her opponent and got nearly $4 million in help from outside Democratic groups.
(Also on POLITICO: David Jolly defeats Alex Sink in Florida 13th)
In the end, it wasn’t enough. Jolly won by 3,456 votes. And he did it by playing a hand Republicans across the country are expected to follow: Run as an opponent to the president’s unpopular health care law and the Democrat as for it.
Democrats are scrambling to launch a counteroffensive – and if they don’t come up with one fast, Tuesday’s loss could foreshadow a brutal year for the party at the ballot box this fall.
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