Rep. Stearns concedes GOP primary

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) has conceded the Republican nomination for Florida's 3th district to local veterinarian Ted YohoTed YohoA conservative solution to trade Republicans: Brussels, Paris might change allies' minds about Guantánamo Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief sends warning shot to China MORE, he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Yoho looked poised for an insurgent win in the surprise of Tuesday night's primaries, but Stearns refused to concede the race, as initial vote tallies put him just over 1 percentage point behind Yoho. 

That changed Wednesday, however.

"Based upon the results from last night, it would appear that there are not enough provisional ballots to make up the difference for me to win this primary election.  Therefore, I am conceding the election to Ted Yoho," Stearns, a 12-term lawmaker, said in a statement.

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The race is evidence of the remaining power of the Tea Party in some areas nationwide, as Yoho, a self-admitted political newcomer, managed to overcome Stearns's considerable name recognition and deep pockets. Stearns had about $2 million in the bank at the close of the last reporting period, while Yoho was running with just $130,000 in his coffers.

Speaking on Tuesday night, under the assumption that he had won the nomination, Yoho attributed his win to distaste for the Washington establishment and his support from local Tea Party groups, and likened it to "winning the Homecoming game."

"The people realize that the career politicians either created this mess, or they failed to prevent it," he said.

Yoho will run against Democratic candidate J. R. Gaillot, also a political newcomer, in the newly drawn 3rd district.

Stearns is chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that probed Solyndra, the solar panel company that went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving a $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009.

“I am disappointed that I won’t be able to continue my investigations of the Obama administration such as the risky loan guarantee to Solyndra and holding Planned Parenthood accountable to the taxpayers,” Stearns said in conceding to Yoho.

— This story was updated at 1:35 p.m. and 2:31 p.m.


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