Ted Yoho sails to fourth term in Congress

Virginia

Southeast / Virginia 7 Views

The Republican used endorsements from President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association to gain momentum and secure his seat for at least one more two-year term.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho defeated opponent Democrat Yvonne Haynes Hinson handily in Tuesday’s general election, securing himself a fourth term in Florida’s District 3 congressional seat.

With three Alachua County precincts left to report Tuesday at 10:15 p.m., Yoho had secured 57.9 percent of votes cast in District 3, which is made up of the entire counties of Alachua, Clay, Putnam, Bradford and Union, along with most of Marion County.

In contrast, 42.1 percent voted for Hinson, a retired educator and former Gainesville city commissioner, who was hoping to play spoiler in a race where incumbent Yoho was considered a heavy favorite.

The majority of her votes came from Alachua County, where she secured about 61 percent of the votes.

But Yoho used endorsements from President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association to gain momentum and secure his seat for at least one more two-year term, which he has previously said will be his last due to his belief in term limits.

Yoho’s conservatism, while not a hit in blue Gainesville where he received less than 40 percent of the vote, is popular districtwide.

Yoho won the race in Bradford, Marion, Union, Clay and Putnam counties.

At about 9 p.m. Tuesday, he said felt good about the win. 

"This is our fourth win. I think this district has spoken loud and clear," Yoho said.

Hinson told The Sun she was disappointed in her loss, but she felt that she might have rubbed off on Yoho a bit, stating she started to see his "human side" by the end of the race.

She said she hopes that in the future, Yoho will "start remembering his constituents when he makes decisions."

"I know for a fact that I will personally remind him of that," she said.

Yoho, who easily bested primary opponent Judson Sapp to secure his Republican nomination, was able to raise $818,000 for his re-election campaign, according to federal filings.

Hinson edged out two other Democrats, Tom Wells and Dushyant Jethagir Gosai, for the Democratic nomination in the primary. She raised a fraction of Yoho’s donations, bringing in about $36,800.

Hinson said she felt campaign finances put her at a huge disadvantage and said she felt "abandoned" by the national Democratic Party, citing a lack of support through donations.

"There is no equity. I'm a lifelong Democrat," she said. "I got no support, no financing, and in the past, I was a donor.

"I am terribly discouraged. (Democrats) pick and choose the candidates they want to support and abandoned me."

Yoho, a Gainesville large animal veterinarian, first won his seat in 2012 by ousting incumbent Cliff Stearns in the 2012 primary and gained nearly 65 percent of votes in the general election.

He defeated longtime educator Marihelen Wheeler in 2014 to retain his seat and most recently, local developer Ken McGurn in 2016.

Yoho said his campaign focused on issues of immigration, defense, health care and job creation.

Hinson said her focus was on education, universal health care, justice reform and environmental issues, including gas extraction through fracking.

Yoho said he will enjoy his win and go back to work Wednesday morning.

"We start back tomorrow and will get back to our regular work day," he said. "I'll return to D.C. and start fixing things."

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