By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
CORAL GABLES—It took only a margin of a few hundred votes to topple a powerful 24-year incumbent of Capitol Hill.
That was the fate of U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, of District 6, by political newcomer and large-animal veterinarian Ted Yoho ofGainesville on Tuesday night in the 3rd district’s GOP primary.
The latest returns showed Yoho with an 831-vote advantage over Stearns, outpacing fellow GOP challengers state Sen. Steve Oelrich of Gainesville and Clay County Clerk of Courts James Jett,who both received less than 20 percent of the vote total.
“I’m going to thank God. I’m going to do a Tebow right here,” Yoho told theTampa Bay Times on Tuesday night after learning of his victory.
“Cliff Stearns embodied a career politician, the establishment. He was more concerned about getting re-elected than doing what’s right. He’s not a bad guy. We just need different leadership,” said Yoho.
The 57-year-old political novice has sent ripples through the Republican establishment in Florida, renewing the tea party spirit doused by the victory of U.S. Rep. John Mica, of District 7, who won out over fellow incumbent U.S. Rep.Sandy Adams, of District 24.
“It was a bag of mixed results for the tea party last night,” said CF 13 Newspolitical analyst Frank Torres. “They had a highly nationalized race between Adams and Mica that turned into a disappointment, but after they lost that one, Yoho delivered a narrow victory over Stearns.”
“This provides confirmation that the tea party still has a pull in Florida, and incumbents still have to be wary about their agenda and their concerns,” said Torres.
Read more: Florida Watchdog