As he kicks off his bid for a second term, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., finds himself in a much different position than last time out. In 2012, Yoho, a large-animal veteran who was a political unknown, was challenging longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in the Republican primary. But this time, Yoho started his campaign off by touting the endorsement of one of the leading Republican presidential possibilities of the 2016 election.
Earlier this week, Yoho kicked off his campaign for a second term in Congress with the help of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at an event in Newberry with more than 500 supporters in attendance. Yohos team released a video from Paul late on Thursday, with the senator endorsing the Florida congressman. With Paul thinking about running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Yoho hyped him up as the presidential front-runner.
I am glad to endorse my friend and colleague Ted Yoho for re-election, Paul said. The thing about Congressman Yoho is that he has been unafraid, and I think why he has been unafraid to defend liberty, defend limited government and our Constitution is because he had a real life. He had a real job. As a veterinarian, he isnt afraid to go back to his profession at any point and time, so he hasnt been afraid to stand up to Republicans or Democrats who arent doing the right thing.
In Washington, we are still borrowing more than $1 million a minute, Paul continued. We keep electing people but its not changing. Its only going to change when people begin to follow the lead of people like Congressman Ted Yoho. So I am proud to stand with Congressman Ted Yoho. I am proud to endorse him and proud to support him. When you are looking for leadership, when Florida is looking for leadership, Ted Yoho is your man and I am proud to stand with him.
I am extremely proud to kick off our 2014 campaign for Congress with the endorsement of presidential front-runner Sen. Rand Paul, Yoho said. His conservative leadership and tenacity in getting the conservative message out is admirable. We are going to continue to fight for the conservative principles that we were sent to Washington to uphold. I am honored and humbled to have his support and look forward to working with Sen. Paul on getting our country back.
Earlier this week, Gainesville attorney Jake Rush, who once worked for the Alachua County sheriff as a deputy, launched a bid to challenge Yoho in the Republican primary. Rush took the gloves off and went on the attack, hitting Yoho as a problem with a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth.
Conservative voters in north Central Florida are tired of being disappointed and embarrassed by their congressman, said Rush on Thursday. As an Alachua County sheriffs deputy and attorney who practices constitutional and federal law, I have seen firsthand the overreaching authority of our government and the need to stand strong against it.
There is a problem in America, and it aint you, the voters, Rush added. Its not you, its not me, but its Ted Yoho and every promise he broke, every misguided vote hes cast, and every ridiculous thing hes said. Theres a problem and its Ted Yoho.
Rush will hit the ground running early next week with 12 events scheduled on Monday and Tuesday.
This campaign is not going to get outworked, said Alex Patton, a consultant working for Rush. Jake Rush has a strong, conservative message, and our research and experience shows us that when the voters are simply made aware of incumbent Yohos activities in Washington, they abandon him in droves.
The Republican primary will be on Aug. 26. Two Democrats -- consultant Aquasia Johnson McDowell and teacher Marihelen Wheeler who ran for the Florida House in 2012 -- are seeking their partys nomination.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.