Republican David Jolly wins Pinellas congressional race

Republican David Jolly is the winner of a hard-fought congressional election in Pinellas County to replace the late Rep. Bill Young.
 
With nearly 100 percent of the vote counted, The Associated Press says Jolly bested Democrat Alex Sink in a contest that attracted national attention and millions of dollars.
 
Jolly told cheering supporters that Sink had spoken to him earlier in the evening and she had wished him well. He repeatedly assured voters he wouldn't be partisan.
 
"Elections, as we always know, have a way of dividing us," he said. "It shouldn't be so."
 
"Let's dispense with the vitriol and rancor (of the election) and be one Pinellas county," he added.
 
The special election served as the first test of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul ahead of November's midterm elections. Local issues took a backseat to the health care law as both national parties and outside groups flooded the swing-voting district with ads, phone calls and mailings about "Obamacare." Democrats and Republicans used the race to audition national strategies.
 
While Republicans held the congressional seat for more than four decades until Young's death last year, district's voters favored Obama in the 2008 and 2012.
 
A total 182,295 votes were cast in the election, according to unofficial results from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. 
 
Jolly received 48.43 percent of the vote compared to Sink's 46.56 percent.
 
Lucas Overby, the Libertarian candidate, received 4.83 percent.
 
In a statement on her website, Sink congratulated Jolly and said she was proud of the race she ran.

“My life has always been shaped by a deep commitment to service and problem solving, and I look forward to finding new ways and new avenues to continue practicing these values in pursuit of doing good for our community, our state and our country," she said.

Sink supporter Ellen Floriani said the loss crushed her.

"I thought with the grassroots support we had and the thousands of people that knocked on doors, made phone calls, made contributions, showed up at all of the campaign offices -- that we had it in the bag," she said.

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