The Spectacle Blog
Republican David Jolly has defeated Democrat Alex Sink in the race to replace Congressman Bill Young's House seat in Florida's 13th Congressional District.
The race was touted as a bellwether for the coming 2016 elections later this year, prompting a flood of $9 million in outside spending. Our own Russ Belli-Estreito threw cold water on much of the politico hyperventilating earlier today, but Florida's 13th is still a purple district and this comes as welcome news for a beleaguered Republican Party. Sink was hit by a kitchen sin...er, a large of number of varied attacks by Jolly, though the most potent were those revolving around Obamacare, for which Sink voiced support.
Jolly defeated Sink 48.5 percent to 46.6 percent, ruling out any possibility of another Florida recount.
Florida is a notoriously purple state, and the 13th Congressional District mirrors the state’s battleground status. Pundits have argued that tonight’s special election will measure how much Obama’s low popularity numbers will affect vulnerable Senate Democrats in 2014. Specifically, the election will test the viability of Obamacare as a campaign talking point.
On the Democratic front, Florida’s former chief financial officer and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink has vocally supported the Affordable Care Act, calling it an “exciting prospect.”
Republican David Jolly, a former lobbyist in Washington, has focused his campaign on the negative effects of Obamacare. With additional help from the NRCC, Jolly has launched ads pinning down Sink as an advocate of the unpopular legislation.
While Obamacare has certainly been a major topic, there are two reasons why tonight's race is incomparable to the November Senate elections.
Progressives see the world as a simple dichotomy, pitting the powerful and the wealthy against the oppressed and the poor. Politics consists of the oppressed rising up and making their lives better by diminishing the powerful. The federal government is the instrument of this rebalancing, whether through spending programs, progressive taxation, or laws that encourage equality.
So it’s no surprise that progressives would try to cram the results of the Obamacare law into this template. Here’s Paul Krugman last month:
The most likely answer [to why the GOP supposedly can’t get political traction] is that the true losers from Obamacare generally aren’t very sympathetic. For the most part, they’re either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist plans.
New information about Lois Lerner’s involvement in the IRS targeting scandal has been released.
Congressman Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government, released a report today compiling Lerner’s emails and other documents to incriminate her since she refused to testify—twice.
The document reveals that Lerner was concerned that the Citizens United court decision would negatively affect Democratic candidates. She wrote:
The Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend freely on elections. Last year, there was a lot of press on 501(c)(4)s being used to funnel money on elections and the IRS was urged to do something about it.
She later writes, “Perhaps the FEC will save the day."
Her plan to fix the problem included scrutiny of new tax-exempt applicants and 501(c)(4) organizations like those linked to the “hugely influential Koch brothers" and “new rules cracking down on political activity."
The report concluded:
Headlines that Mitch McConnell wants to “crush” the Tea Party are spreading across conservative websites.
But the New York Times article, which quotes McConnell, is—of shock to no one—misleading.
The piece opens by providing a background of 2010 and 2012 Senate races in which conservative activist groups supported Tea Party candidates able to succeed in primaries, but unelectable in general races.
The Times identifies groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project, and FreedomWorks as similar players in 2014 Senate campaigns. In Kentucky, Kansas, and Mississippi, Tea Party candidates, with help from the above-mentioned groups, are opposing incumbents—McConnell being one of them. With those particular races in mind, and without referring to other Tea Party candidates not challenging incumbents like Greg Brannon in North Carolina, McConnell said the following:
It looks like the Democrats are steadily losing the war on women.
The state of West Virginia, which votes for Republican presidents but has a Democratic governor and state legislature, passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks because babies are viable outside the womb and can feel pain.
West Virginia is the first Democrat-ruled state to do so, and the vote was not even close:
The state’s Democrat-led House the House passed the bill 85-15, according to the Associated Press. The Senate had previously passed the bill 25 to 9, according to the Herald Dispatch.
The outstanding support for the ban should encourage the pro-life community. Even liberals are having a hard time justifying abortions when premature babies have survived outside the womb after 20 weeks.
Feature of the Day: Genghis Khan’s Secret Weapon Was Rain