Congress

Florida Republican Ted Yoho announces he won’t seek a fifth term

Tells radio station he is honoring term limits pledge

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said Tuesday he will not seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Republican Ted Yoho said Tuesday on a local radio show that he would not run for reelection in 2020, honoring a pledge that he would not seek more than four terms in Congress.

Yoho, a large-animal veterinarian, made his announcement on Florida’s WSKY radio, according to the station’s website. His departure brings the number of retiring House and Senate members to 25, all but six of them Republicans.

The race for Yoho’s landlocked 3rd District in northern Florida is ranked Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan R. Gonzales. In 2016, Trump won it by 16 percentage points.

Yoho, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus who serves on the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees, has had no problem holding the district since he defeated 12-term Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns in a 2012 upset. He won in 2018 by 15 points.

Two other Republicans and a handful of Democrats have filed to run for the seat in 2020.

Democrats took heart in Yoho’s decision to retire.

“Republicans in safe seats don’t usually retire if they think their party is going to win back the majority in Congress next year,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Avery Jaffe in a statement.

Yoho raised $49,410 in the third quarter of 2019, stoking speculation that he would ignore his pledge and instead seek a fifth therm. That chatter was compounded by reports of an internal poll showing that he would easily against any of his potential challengers. 

Jaffe also pointed to a November statement from Yoho’s campaign that he had not made up his mind about his 2020 plans.

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