Tuesday’s election in Florida for a U.S. House seat provides the first indication of how voters are leaning in 2014 and the effectiveness of the two parties’ competing messages in this midterm election year.
Alex Sink, the Democrat, has many advantages in the battle for the St. Petersburg-area district previously held for more than four decades by the late GOP Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young. She is the better-known candidate with better fundraising in a district carried twice by President Obama and which she carried in her unsuccessful 2010 campaign for governor.
However, Republicans are betting David Jolly, a lobbyist and former Young aide, will win based in part on his personal connection to the former congressman and a message of aligning Sink with an unpopular president and the rocky roll out of the Affordable Care Act.
The district’s voters, predominantly white retirees, disproportionately favor Republicans, more so in an off-year, low-turnout election. The non-partisan Cook Political Report rates the race a tossup.