00:22 - Source: CNN
King: GOP Jitters in FL

Story highlights

Both parties are testing messages for fall midterms in Tuesday's special election

Republicans trying use Obamacare to frame midterm elections

Republican candidate says outside anti-Obamacare ads are drowning other issues

Democrat is confronting Obamacare debate, saying there's room for improvement

Clearwater, Florida CNN —  

It’s for just one congressional seat for about eight months, but Tuesday’s special election in Florida has taken on huge political significance.

National Republicans are framing Tuesday’s special election as a referendum on Obamacare. But their message – plus a flood of outside spending by Democrats focused on the issue of Social Security – is drowning out other issues in the race, Republican candidate David Jolly says.

His Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, isn’t shying away from the health care debate, touting the law’s benefits and saying she’s open to improvements.

Both parties are looking at this race as a testing ground for their messages going into the midterm elections. Florida’s 13th District is one of a small number of competitive ones, and Republicans and Democrats say the tight race here will come down to which campaign gets its supporters out.

Both sides have spent more than $11 million on media and direct mail, according to data from the Sunlight Foundation. The bulk of that spending comes from outside groups hoping to shape two very different narratives.

Eight things to watch between now and Election Day

Republican groups and Jolly’s campaign have concentrated on tying Sink to Obamacare and its rocky rollout and to President Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who have low approval ratings among independent voters.