Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns has conceded victory to political novice Ted Yoho, a tea party favorite who bested the veteran congressman by just over 800 votes in Tuesday’s primary contest.
Stearns is a 12-term congressman representing the Gainesville, Fla., area. He was competing for a district that was redrawn through redistricting to include voters from a larger geographic area that he had not previously represented.
Still, he clearly was not expecting a credible challenge to his 13th bid for the GOP nomination, as he lost the race while sitting on more than $2 million in campaign cash.
Yoho, a veterinarian who has never held elected office, is the latest tea party challenger to succeed in casting an incumbent Republican as out of touch with voters. He’ll face Democrat J.R. Gaillot, a local businessman, in November.