To the surprise of no one who knew him well, Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., kept his initial 2012 campaign promise and announced Tuesday he would step down next year after four terms in Congress.
In doing so, Yoho became the 27th Republican lawmaker to either retire, resign, or seek another office.
Sources on Capitol Hill told Newsmax they expect two or three more Republican lawmakers to say before New Year's Day they are stepping down in 2020.
Although many of those exiting the House cite the toxic environment in Washington these days or the need to make more money, Yoho, 64, was unique.
"I ran [in 2012] on a pledge to serve four terms — eight years and come home," he wrote in a letter to supporters. "I truly believe a person's word is their bond and [they] should live up to their word. I also meant that after eight years, I will come home and pass the baton on to a new generation."
A veterinarian and first-time candidate, Yoho in 2012 came out of nowhere to challenge 24-year Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in the Republican primary. Running primarily on Stearns' violation of his own term-limit pledge from his first campaign, Yoho upset the venerable incumbent by about 800 votes.
One source of comfort for national Republicans is Yoho's Northern Florida 3rd District is over 55% Republican in most elections. The conservative Ocala and Jacksonville suburbs are especially reliable GOP turf, and the only liberal bastion is Gainesville (home of the University of Florida).
At the time of Yoho's announcement, all Republican eyes were on Clay County businessman Judson Sapp. The CEO of W.J. Sapp and Son Railroad Contractor, Sapp drew 23% of the vote against Yoho in 2018 and made it clear he was running again regardless of what the incumbent did.
Like Yoho, Sapp is a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump. He also has a 100% anti-abortion rating and an "A" from the National Rifle Association.
Also sure to get in the Republican primary is businessman Amy Pope Wells, also a strong Trump enthusiast.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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