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The seat Democrats couldn’t afford to lose

"The seat Democrats couldn’t afford to lose" Continued...

Republicans also touted Jolly’s win because they said it field-tested the GOP’s new technical data-gathering tools. Obama’s team trounced Republicans in recent years when it came to the social media side of campaigns. But now, Republicans claim they have learned how to use technical tools to coordinate messaging, target likely voters, and increase turnout.

The political stars came out for this race, with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., rallying the troops for Jolly and former President Bill Clinton recording a phone call for Sink. But Sink could not overcome Obamacare and the president’s weak poll numbers. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released hours after the Florida results, Obama had the lowest job-approval ratings of his presidency, dropping to 41 percent in March, down from 43 percent in January. About 54 percent polled said they disapproved of the job he is doing, matching the previous high from December.

After attacking his opponent over Obamacare during the race, Jolly did not mention the law in his victory speech.  

“This race is not about defending a broken agenda in Washington or advancing a broken agenda in Washington,” said Jolly, who must run for his seat again this fall, meaning the nearly $12 million spent on the race will keep the seat for just 10 months. “This race is about serving the people in our own community. Let’s dispense with the rancor and vitriol of the last five months.”

Listen to Kent Covington discuss the Jolly-Sink race and its national implications with Washington-based Republican strategist Phillip Stutts on The World and Everything in It:

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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