Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., a 24-year veteran of Congress and a senior member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, conceded Wednesday afternoon to his Republican primary opponent, Ted Yoho.
Yoho, a large-animal veterinarian, staged an improbable upset of Stearns, who had been endorsed by such Republican stalwarts as probable GOP vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, and Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Allan West, R-Fla., both Tea Party favorites.
The newly redrawn third district is expected to tilt Republican. Yoho will face Democrat J.R. Gaillot, who did not have a primary opponent, in November's general election.
In an e-mailed statement announcing his concession, Stearns threw his support to Yoho but lamented the work he was leaving unfinished in Washington.
"I am disappointed that I won't be able to continue my investigations of the Obama administration such as the risky loan guarantee to Solyndra and holding Planned Parenthood accountable to the taxpayers," Stearns said. "There is so much left to do in conducting oversight over the White House and the President's growing expansion of government into our lives."
Stearns was influential in technology and telecommunications policy, and active on the issue of Internet privacy.