PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Veterinarian Ted Yoho introduced himself to thousands of parade-goers and barbecue eaters during a campaign for Congress in which he ran hard against the establishment.
On Wednesday morning, he introduced himself to that establishment: Florida's delegation to the Republican National Convention.
Yoho scored a stunning primary upset in August over three-decade veteran of Congress Cliff Stearns in a redrawn district than runs from Clay County to the Gulf Coast. Many in the Republican Party were caught off guard by Yoho's victory.
Yoho said Wednesday in a speech to the GOP delegates that career politicians created the problems the country faces and Washington is to blame for the stagnant economy.
"I've had enough of Washington standing in the way of job creation," Yoho said, using a line he repeated often on the campaign trail in the Third Congressional District, which sprawls across rural north Florida from the Gulf Coast to the Georgia line and the outer suburbs of Jacksonville.
Yoho is still largely unknown to many of the Republicans in the party's rank and file outside of that district. But his win over Stearns, who was elected in 1988, has made him a bit of a star.
Yoho is the only GOP congressional candidate so far to get a speaking spot at the breakfast for top Republican activists in the delegation at the convention. On Wednesday, he was interviewed by Politico in a video that was seen by political junkies around the country. He's been endorsed by Sarah Palin.
His campaign platform mainly revolves around removing what Yoho sees as barriers to job growth, though he typically isn't specific in his stump speeches about what federal regulations need to be repealed.
One specific law he does talk about is the federal health care law.
"Repeal, defund and bury Obamacare," Yoho said, describing his priorities. "Second, we need to take a scalpel to burdensome rules, regulations and mandates. Finally, we need to simplify our tax code."
Yoho recently sold his veterinary practice, but said his long tenure running it gave him an eye toward what local business owners deal with.
"I've been in the trenches… for the last 35 years on a daily business," Yoho said.
He also said the nation needs to have a strong national security, but that the biggest threat to national security "doesn't come from a foreign shore – it comes from the halls of Congress. It's called debt."
Yoho faces Democrat J.R. Gaillot and independent Phil Dodds.
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