Florida veterinarian wins Congressional seat
Gainesville large animal veterinarian Ted Yoho, DVM, won Florida’s third district Congressional seat on a conservative Republican platform, defeating Democrat J.R. Gaillot and independent write-in candidate Philip Dodds on Nov. 6. Virtually unknown in politics before this election season, the longtime veterinarian won 65 percent of the 312,840 votes cast, beating Gaillot by more than 100,000 votes.
“I’m ecstatic about the victory,” Yoho told DVM Newsmagazine. “I’m honored to go up there in this time of America’s history.”
Yoho says creating a balanced budget and working on the Farm Bill are what he’ll focus on first. While the presidential election didn’t go the way he wanted, he hopes people can come together regardless of political party to get legislation passed.
Yoho’s Tea Party ideals caught the attention and endorsements of high-profile Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin of Alaska. His campaign included a vow to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act and to support fair tax and immigration reform, along with using his lack of political experience to target “career politicians.” He defeated 12-term incumbent Cliff Stearns in the Republican primary in an unexpected upset.
Yoho’s Facebook page brimmed with congratulations Wednesday morning, some giving a nod to his veterinary background. One supporter wrote, “Congratulations, Dr. Ted Yoho! It won’t be easy but thank God you have a lot of experience working with mules, jackasses and horse’s asses. I was proud to wave my Yoho sign at the intersection yesterday.”
Another paid homage to Yoho’s single campaign ad, which featured “career politicians” acting like pigs slinging mud, by writing, “Congratulations Ted on your LARGE victory ... now go get the pigs away from the trough!”
Yoho will take his seat with the 113th Congress when the new session begins Jan. 3, 2013, and next week he'll go to Washington, D.C., for orientation. “It’s like going to veterinary school all over again,” he says.
Yoho joins U.S. Rep. Kurt Shrader, DVM, D-Oregon, who is the only other veterinarian in Congress.