ObamaCare referendum in Florida today

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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• ObamaCare referendum in Florida today
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Voters in Pinellas County, Fla., a swing county in a swing state, are at the polls today to vote on who will serve out the remaining months of the term of the late Rep. Bill Young, the Republican who had represented the district since Richard Nixon’s first term. It’s not such a big deal when it comes to one seat in the House, but as it relates to the November elections the contest has the attention of every political pro in the country. National Democrats recruited 2010 gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink, a well-heeled moderate with a famous name, to run in this district that twice went for President Obama and was the only congressional district Sink carried in 2010. Republicans had a weaker draw with their nominee, former Young aide turned lobbyist David Jolly, who had to fight his way through a crowded primary field. But as the race unfolded, the issue of ObamaCare proved to be a leveling agent, knocking down Sink’s support. While Republican strategists admitted to Fox News First that misgivings about being complicit on a likely loss kept them from pitching in during the early weeks, the national GOP has swung in to match the blue team million for million in what has turned out to be a hugely expensive race. After all this attention and all this cash the race is a nail-biter.

[St. Petersburg Tribune: “Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and House Majority PAC bought airtime and digital ad space – more than $9 million in all.]

High stakes - Nearly 125,000 voters cast early ballots in the race, that’s about a quarter of all of the eligible voters in the district. The big questions include how Sink will perform with moderate Republicans, a strong point for Obama in 2012 and 2008, and how much support Libertarian Lucas Overby will siphon from Jolly. The race is closer and more expensive that Democrats had hoped, but if Sink can pull out even a narrow victory, national Democrats can use it to buck up dispirited candidates who want to bolt from President Obama and his ObamaCare curse. If Jolly pulls off an upset, Republicans will stay at ramming speed on ObamaCare as Dems take flight.

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Chris Stirewalt
FOX News