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August 15, 2012

Cliff Stearns Concedes Defeat

Cliff Stearns Concedes Defeat

Rep. Cliff Stearns conceded defeat in Florida's 3rd district GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

UPDATED 1:15 p.m. | Rep. Cliff Stearns, who was first elected to the House in 1988, conceded defeat to tea-party-affiliated veterinarian Ted Yoho today. Yoho upset the longtime Member in Florida’s 3rd district GOP primary Tuesday.

“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,” Stearns said in a statement. “Therefore, I am conceding the election to Ted Yoho and I talked with him wishing him the best in his effort to represent the wonderful people of north central Florida. I have had an excellent and rewarding experience working in Congress for my fellow Floridians.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Yoho had 34 percent to Stearns’ 33 percent. Yoho had a more-than-800-vote advantage, according to the Associated Press, though the AP had not yet called the race because of pending overseas and provisional ballots.

“I stand proud of my 24-year record of conservative leadership and of defending our traditional values in Congress,” the Congressman said. “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.”

Florida: Cliff Stearns Losing but Refuses to Concede

In a possible stunning upset, veterinarian Ted Yoho is poised to oust 12-term Rep. Cliff Stearns in Florida’s 3rd district GOP primary.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Yoho has 34 percent of the vote to Stearns’ 33 percent, putting the Congressman at a deficit of just more than 800 votes. But the Associated Press has yet to call the race since provisional and overseas ballots could change the results. Stearns is refusing to concede, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Since this is a close primary vote and we still need to make sure all voices are heard, we are awaiting the certified results. Congressman Stearns deeply appreciates the support and hard work of the voters who share his commitment to creating jobs, limiting government, and reducing the debt,” the Florida Republican’s campaign said, according to the paper.

But Yoho is claiming victory. And in part because of the support he received from tea party activists, he could be on his way to taking out the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“You’ve got your Ted Cruz story of Florida,” one Florida Republican operative said, referring to the Texas Senate GOP primary victor who upset the establishment pick.

On July 25, Yoho had only $130,000 in cash on hand, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. Stearns ended July 25 with more than $2 million in the bank, which left Florida Republicans scratching their heads.

“If Stearns loses, it should be a case study for incumbents who bank a shit-ton of money and then don’t do anything with it,” the operative said.

Stearns was first elected to Congress in 1988. Starting in 1990, he never fell below 59 percent of the vote in winning re-election in the general. But this time the threat came from his primary, and it’s clear, whatever the final result, he didn’t take it seriously enough.

March 7, 2012

Florida: Local Official Says Stearns Tried to Buy Him Out of Race

Florida: Local Official Says Stearns Tried to Buy Him Out of Race

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 7:40 p.m. | A clerk of courts running for Congress in Florida has accused GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns of offering him incentives to drop out of the race.

Clay County Clerk of Courts James Jett’s accusations were first reported by the political blog of Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union after Jett told a South Clay Republicans meeting this afternoon that he had been offered perks to drop his Congressional bid.

Stearns’ office vigorously denied Jett’s allegations.

“Mr. Jett’s claim is totally unfounded — no one is authorized to make any claims or concessions on behalf of Rep. Stearns. He has not communicated with Mr. Jett at any time to get out of the race.  This is a pure and simple political maneuver by Mr. Jett to illegally entrap former friends for vindictive reasons,” Press Secretary Paul Flusche said in a statement. Full story

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