Stearns's loss puts Oversight gavel up for grabs

Outside the telecom realm, the 12-term Republican has been vocal on core tech issues such as online privacy. This spring, he held a series of hearings on how to defend the country’s critical infrastructure networks against the growing threat of cyberattack.

Stearns has held other influential positions on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Before Republicans won back control of the House in 2010, Stearns served as the ranking member of the committee's Communications, Technology and Internet panel, which has jurisdiction over the FCC and telecommunications issues.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Verizon Communications, Microsoft, AT&T and the National Association of Broadcasters accounted for some of Stearns's top 10 donors during this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Stearns conceded the primary to Yoho on Wednesday after losing the race by a narrow margin, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“I stand proud of my 24-year record of conservative leadership and of defending our traditional values in Congress,” Stearns told the Times. “It has been an honor, privilege and the high calling of my life to serve the many outstanding citizens of Florida in our nation’s capital. I will leave the House of Representatives with a joyful heart and the satisfaction that I did all I could to advance the conservative cause.”