U.S. Representative Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican who’s aligned with the small-government Tea Party movement and opposed John Boehner’s re-election as House speaker, trounced a challenger in a primary today.
With only one precinct reporting, Yoho had 76 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for lawyer Jake Rush, according to the Associated Press.
Yoho, seeking a second term, was among 12 Republicans who declined to back Boehner, an Ohio Republican, for another term as speaker in 2013. All 10 who sought re-election are favored to win new terms in the Nov. 4 general election; two ran for the Senate and lost. The bloc of House Republicans opposed to Boehner likely will be bigger after the election.
Yoho, 59, said earlier this month that opposing Boehner hasn’t hampered his effectiveness in representing the 3rd District, noting House passage of a bill he sponsored and his service as the only Floridian on the Agriculture Committee.
“Even with the challenge I did to leadership, it’s made our conference better” because like-minded Republicans have “changed the dynamics” on issues including border security, Yoho said at a candidate forum Aug. 4 at Florida Gateway College in Lake City.
Yoho sided with Republican leaders and bucked small- government outside groups in voting last December for a budget deal crafted by Republican Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington.
Yoho’s supporters include the Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group that also advocates for a limited federal government.
Rush, a political unknown, received outside help from a super-political action committee funded by his father and his aunt. Super-PACs may raise funds in unlimited amounts to independently aid or oppose candidates.
Yoho, a veterinarian, was a political neophyte in 2012 when he toppled 12-term Representative Cliff Stearns in the Republican primary. The district, which takes in most of Gainesville and some territory between Tallahassee and Jacksonville, is safely Republican in the Nov. 4 general election, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, a Washington group that rates political races.
In southern Florida, Republicans are seeking to reclaim two politically competitive districts Democrats wrested from them in the 2012 election.
In the 18th District, which takes in Port St. Lucie and Jupiter, former state representative Carl Domino won a six- candidate Republican primary and will face Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy. The district is among nine nationwide that voted Republican for president and Democratic for the U.S. House in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Murphy has raised $3.8 million for his re-election through Aug. 6, Federal Election Commission records show. Domino, an investment manager, provided about $490,000 in personal funds to his primary campaign.
Murphy is emphasizing political independence in a district that leans Republican. A television ad he unveiled last week shows him jogging while criticizing congressional “perks” including a members-only gym, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, an ad tracker.
In Florida’s 26th District, Republicans nominated Carlos Curbelo, a member of the school board in Miami-Dade County, to oppose Democratic Representative Joe Garcia in a district that is more than two-thirds Hispanic.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s House campaign committee, backed Curbelo in a five- candidate field that included former Representative David Rivera. Ethics questions about Rivera’s campaign funding surfaced during the 2012 election and led to his ouster by Garcia.
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