Special Election in Florida May Show Political Impact of Obamacare Rollout

Vacant House seat being filled


A special election for a vacant House seat in Florida is shaping up as an early bellwether race that may indicate how President Obama's health care law is going to affect the 2014 elections.

The death in November of Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla., opened up his St. Petersburg-based seat in a district where he would probably have been safely re-elected. The race to replace him is drawing national interest as a test battle for the party's warring messages over the Affordable Care Act.

Obama won 50% in the swing district in 2012 and 51% in 2008, placing the seat squarely in the tossup category where either party stands a chance to win. David Wasserman, a non-partisan elections analyst for The Cook Political Report, said the seat is close to a "dead even district" in terms of competitiveness, but he gives a narrow edge to Democrats because they have lined up behind a well-known candidate, while Republicans face a primary of relative unknowns.