Rove: Don't 'Uncork the Champagne' Over Florida Victory

Image: Rove: Don't 'Uncork the Champagne' Over Florida Victory

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 12:09 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Republican strategist Karl Rove is urging the GOP not to "uncork the champagne" to toast Republican David Jolly's upset victory in a Florida special election.

In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, Rove pointed out that Jolly's defeat of Democrat Alex Sink for the 13th Congressional District was "significant" considering that President Barack Obama had carried it in both elections and that the district had changed into a more liberal demographic in recent years.

Claiming that Obamacare is seriously hurting the Democrats, Republican leaders have hailed the stunning upset as an omen that the GOP could rout their rivals in the November midterm elections.

But Rove, the architect of George W. Bush's two presidential victories, warned, "Special elections don't always dictate how midterms turn out."

And while heaping praise on Jolly's campaign tactics, Rove added that the special election in Florida showed that "Obamacare is a potent issue that hurts Democrats badly but isn't sufficient by itself," he wrote in the Journal.

Rove noted that in the two years before the 2010 midterms, there were 10 special elections. Eight remained with the incumbent party while the GOP "flipped" one seat and Democrats took another.

In the 2006 midterms, both parties retained their seats in the four special elections.

However, the Democrats gained control of the House in 2006 while the GOP won it back in 2010, giving little indication of what may occur in the 2014 midterms.

Rove said the GOP can learn vital lessons from Jolly's campaign to win the seat that had previously been held by popular Republican Rep. Bill Young for 42 years until his death last year.

Jolly "emphasized replacing, not just repealing" Obamacare, Rove wrote in the newspaper on Thursday.

"Mr. Jolly put Obamacare in a larger frame, urging voters to elect someone to be a check and balance for Mr. Obama, rather than blindly support him. This cut well with independents, according to some private polls by outside groups.

"Mr. Jolly's success depended upon convincing them he would go to Washington to make things work, not to blow it up."

Rove, who helped to create the GOP political action committee American Crossroads, added that Jolly exploited "multiple, not just a single, vulnerability" in Sink's record to win swing voters.

"Republicans are buoyed by Tuesday's election," he wrote in the opinion piece. "But only if they apply its lessons in dozens of other contests for the House and Senate can they turn a good midterm into a great one."

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