“This was a safe Republican seat for decades,” Carney said of GOP lobbyist David Jolly besting former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink in the Tampa–area House race.
However, Republicans are framing the victory as proof that Democrats will pay a heavy political price in November for President Obama’s health care law.
But Carney pointed out that Jolly didn’t portray his victory as one of national significance.
"Any fair assessment about the role that debate of the Affordable Care Act played reaches the conclusion that, at best for the Republicans, it was a draw," Carney claimed in the daily White House press briefing. "I think that's evidenced by the fact that the Republican candidate himself didn't mention it in his victory speech."
Democrats, however, invested heavily in the race, seeing a possible pickup in a district that Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012.
The seat was vacant following the death of longtime Republican congressman C.W. Bill Young.
Ahead of the election, the White House argued that Democrats would not be damaged by the fallout from the president’s signature domestic achievement.
“So candidates out there who are supporting a law that provides affordable, quality health insurance to millions of Americans, including millions who haven’t had it in the past, we believe they have a pretty clear case to make against the argument for repeal, which is basically an argument in favor of empowering the insurance companies at the expense of individuals,” Carney said earlier this week.