With a new poll showing around half of Florida Republicans remain undecided on who they want to see replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in the Senate in 2016, a new contender could be in the mix: U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla. Supporters close to Yoho told Sunshine State News on Tuesday that the North Florida congressman is looking at entering the race but is far from making a final decision on it.
“He’s looking closely at it,” a supporter close to Yoho confirmed to Sunshine State News. “This isn’t prompted by redistricting, though that could be a factor depending on how it goes. Ted’s concerned that too many members of the Republican establishment, the guys who promised to clean up Washington but didn’t, are in the primary. There’s no one who can be the voice of grassroot conservatives across the state and that is what Ted can be.”
Yoho could be facing a crowded field if he enters the primary. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., is expected to announce whether he is running for the Senate or not next month. Miller, Yoho and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., are all based out of North Florida, dividing that conservative region, while U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., tries to nail down Tampa Bay and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is based out of South Florida. Businessman Todd Wilcox, a political newcomer who is running, is based out of Orlando, not too far from the home base of former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum who is another possible candidate.
Calling for term limits and taking aim at career politicians, Yoho, a large-animal veteran based out of Gainesville, shocked the political world when he defeated U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who had served 24 years in Congress, in the Republican primary back in 2012. Sitting on the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees, Yoho has been one of the leading conservatives in the Florida delegation and a favorite of the tea party movement. Yoho voted against U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to lead the House twice and even challenged him for the gavel earlier this year.
“Yoho isn’t a creature of Washington or Tallahassee,” a supporter close to the congressman told Sunshine State News. “Florida conservatives like outsiders -- and that’s what Ted Yoho is and something the rest of the Republicans aren’t. He’s shown backbone in taking on John Boehner while too many so-called conservatives made a lot of noise about breaking with the speaker but, at the end of the day, they backed Boehner.”
On the Democratic side, U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy are running for the Senate. Republican strategist Roger Stone is looking at running as a Libertarian.
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