GOP groups pump $1.2 million into Florida election

4:11 PM, Jan 30, 2014   |    comments
Republican groups are planning to spend $1.2 million in Florida to help David Jolly in the March 11 special election to succeed the late Republican Rep. Bill Young. Jolly is running against Democrat Alex Sink. (Photo: Steve Nesius, AP)
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Three Republican groups will spend $1.2 million to sway a special election in Florida viewed as an early testing ground for November's midterm congressional elections.

American Crossroads, American Action Network and YG Network will run television commercials and distribute mailers in the St. Petersburg-area contest to replace late Republican Rep. Bill Young, who died in October.

The March 11 race between Democrat Alex Sink, the state's former chief financial officer, and Republican David Jolly, a former lobbyist, has drawn national interest and financial support from Democrats eager to win a Republican-held district that narrowly backed President Obama.

SEE ALSO: David Jolly wins GOP primary in Pinellas County
MORE: Dems, GOP test pitches for 2014 FL House race

The national groups have sought to use the race to test messages they hope will resonate with voters in the fall.

STORY: Voters have flood of concerns in House race in Florida

Crossroads and the American Action Network each will spend $500,000, and YG Network will put in $200,000.

"This has become a far more competitive race than anyone initially expected," Crossroads President Steven Law said in an emailed statement. "The Democrats were hoping to get momentum here, they haven't, and it's important that we push back hard."

The new spending was first reported by Politico.

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