U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns has been ousted by a tea party challenger in a GOP primary in north Florida Tuesday. Political newcomer Ted Yoho, a Gainesville veterinarian, stunned Stearns who’s been in Congress since 1989. The sprawling, mostly rural District 3 stretches from the Gulf coast, west of Ocala, north to the Georgia line and east to the outer suburbs of Jacksonville. Yoho seems to have struck a chord with Republican voters, running against Stearns as a “career politician.”
Stearns, who was criticized for breaking a 1988 promise to serve only six terms, hasn’t had many problems in past elections. Lately he’s been in the news as the subcommittee chairman who pushed the GOP’s probe of federal aid to failed energy company Solyndra. If the results stand, as it appears they will, Yoho will have a three-way race in November. He’ll face Democrat J.R. Gaillot of Fleming Island and no-party candidate Philip Dodds of Alachua. The race also ended, at least for now, the political career of state Senator Steve Oelrich, who finished third in the GOP primary. Just moments ago, the Republican Nominee for District 3, Congressman, Ted Yoho, told WUFT-FM’s Tom Krynski, that Mr. Stearns did call him earlier today:
That was Republican Nominee for the 3rd Congressional District, Ted Yoho, talking to Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Tom Krynski. Congressman Stearns did not return WUFT-FM’s phone calls today. As the general election approaches, we’ll be hearing more from both Democratic and Republican candidates on Front Page.
Reporting contributed by Margie Menzel – WLRN.