Cliff Stearns (R-FL), a member of the key House Committee on Energy and Commerce and a former party leader in that panel’s even more key Communications Subcommittee, is on the wrong side of a closely-contested primary match-up against a political newcomer with Tea Party credentials.
The results seemed to have caught most political prognosticators by surprise.
Stearns only managed to collect a third of the vote in a four-way battle, while veterinarian Ted Yoho had about a third and a little extra.
As of8:30 AM8/15, the race had not been called.
Stearns was formerly the top Republican on the Communications Subcommittee, but recently slid over to chair Oversight and Investigations when Communications went to its current chair Greg Walden (R-OR).
According to reports, Stearns avoided debates and opted not to engage Yoho during the campaign, and also was able to heavily outspend Yoho. However, the strategy of continuing to focus on his duties in Washington may have played into the challengers hand, underscoring his anti-politics-as-usual message.
If Stearns winds up on top, he will go into the general election seeking his 13th term in Washington.