Republicant David Jolly had barely been crowned the victor in Florida's 13th district's special election for the vacated House seat of deceased congressman Bill Young, when the champagne corks on the Right began to fly uncontrollably. The most oft repeated refrain was that Mr. Jolly's victory was a harbinger of what was to come for Republicants in this November's mid-term elections.
The theory goes that if a flawed candidate like Jolly, a former lobbyist and recent 41 year old divorcee with a girlfriend 14 years his junior, could win in a district that voted solidly for Barack Obama in 2012, then Republicants will glide to easy victory over the Democrats in both the House and Senate races this Fall.
Mr. Jolly was not supported by the Republicant establishment in Washington during the primary, in fact he was their favorite whipping post during that process. As far as his election victory being a harbinger of better things for his party in November, I can not say one way or the other. I do not think anyone can accurately predict, based on one event, the support of voters this Fall. Mr. Jolly was supported by the Tea Party, placing another victory firmly in the column of that oft abused, and mis-characterized movement, both by the Left and the Right.
Assured victory for Republicants this Fall is not unequivocal as a result of this special election, but it does illustrate two things very aptly as far as I am concerned. One is that the Tea Party is not some extremist organization that only supports radical candidates as they have been accused by both the Republicant and Democrat establishments. Mr. Jolly was a committed centrist in the mold of his predecessor, Bill Young. Secondly, this victory, along with the many others by Tea Party-supported candidates since 2010, shows the electoral influence and heft possessed by members of that movement.
If Mr. Jolly's victory is a bell weather of this Fall's mid-terms, it disproves the supposition by some pundits that the Republicants will have to find more to run on than simply replacing ObamaCare. David Jolly constructed his campaign almost entirely of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Even his Democrat opponent, Alex Sink, campaigned on "fixing" the major problems with ObamaCare.
Maybe David Jolly's victory will turn out to be an augury of November's mid-term elections. However, I am very solicitous over the frolicsome predictions of a mass Republicant victory that I heard yesterday by many in talk radio. If there are two things I know about politics they are that nothing is a sure thing, and Republicants recently have found new ways in which to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.