The Ted Yoho Era Begins

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 15 2012 10:06 AM

The Ted Yoho Era Begins

Last night, as the voting in Florida's 3rd district turned against Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Democratic strategist gloated so hard I worried my email would crash. "So much for Solyndra!" said the strategist. "When Solyndra doesn't win you a Republcian primary, makes you wonder what it does win you."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Since January 2011, Stearns had run the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It was Stearns's investigators who turned up the first embarassing details of the Solyndra collapse, Stearns' investigators who followed up on video stings of Planned Parenthood offices. Stearns was, according to Politico, the "GOP's new star on the hill."


He probably lost last night to a large animal veternarian who had never held public office. Ted Yoho, a self-professed Tea Party candidate, ran on goofball charm, corny jokes, and the help of Republican consultant (and Mike Huckabee son-in-law) Brian Sanders. He spent $169,475 to Stearns's $739,406 -- and that could have been more dramatic, but Stearns sat on $2 million. Yoho made no real ideological argument against Stearns, a conservative who'd voted against TARP. He just ran as an ordinary guy who would serve no more than four terms, who hated himself some Washington. He hired a George Bush impersonator.

He promoted earnest tribute songs performed by supporters.

His endorsement page made up for a lack of elected Republican support by citing author R.J. Yoho, who admitted that "it isn’t clear if we are truly related," and the son of the creator of Gatorade, who called the candidate "refreshing."

I heard last night from a couple of voters in the district who said they'd seen Yoho's funny "pigs at trough" ad a few times. Maybe there's a lesson here about how little attention voters pay to what their member of Congress is actually doing. There's certainly no reason to believe Stearns made too few concessions to the right.


David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.