JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Call it an election day upset. Twelve term Congressman Cliff Stearns was ousted by newcomer Ted Yoho.
State Senator Stephen Wise called it the biggest surprise of the primary election. "I think the only one that bothered me was Cliff Stearns, because he would vote exactly like I would have voted."
This morning, Stearns conceded the primary to Ted Yoho, a veterinarian from Gainesville, with little political experience.
Lenny Curry, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida said, "That's what primaries are for. You know, the voters get to have their voice heard. And some people are disappointed. New careers for others, so."
Stearns had been a national republican favorite after spearheading criticism of the Obama administration's energy program and its funding of Planned Parenthood. But Yoho criticized Stearns for being in office too long, and pledged that he would leave the house after eight years.
Senator Wise says he doesn't know much about Yoho. "Not a thing. But he ran a good campaign."
But he says Yoho has some big shoes to fill. He says Congressman Stearns has represented North and Central Florida well for the past 24 years. "He's just done a wonderful job and he'll be sorely missed," said Wise.
The election was close. Only about 800 votes separated the two candidates.
Action News did reach out to Congressman Stearns for his reaction to his loss. He issued the following statement: "I stand proud of my 24-year record of conservative leadership and defending our traditional values in Congress. 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."