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After months of railing against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republicans scored a key victory in a hard-fought congressional race that had been closely watched as a bellwether of midterm elections in November.
Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a Florida special election Tuesday that largely turned on the federal health care law, with both sides using the race to audition national strategies in one of the country's few competitive swing-voting districts.
The implications of the dueling messages for control of Congress in November inspired both parties to call in star advocates like former President Bill Clinton and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in addition to blanketing the district with ads, calls and mailings.
 the battle for Florida's 13th District seat in the Tampa area was a prequel of sorts to the national fight this year over who controls Congress in the last two years of Obama's final presidential term.
Jolly, a former Young aide backed by Republicans and outside groups, campaigned on a conservative platform, promising spending cuts, balanced budgets and repealing the health care law.
The message against the health care overhaul proved a rallying cry for Republican voters, who surged to the polls on Election Day.
In an attempt to deflect criticism over the law, Sink and Democrats painted Jolly as a Washington lobbyist who backs efforts to privatize Social Security and gut Medicare.
Many voters expressed disgust at the amount of money spent on the race — and the relentless barrage of television ads and mailers that were on par with a presidential election.
As President Obama searches for a way to contain and ultimately reverse Russia’s invasion of southern Ukraine without using force, his team finds itself torn over just how far to go using economic weapons.