WASHINGTON -- Rep. Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican who led the GOP charge against Planned Parenthood, conceded victory in his primary race Wednesday while sitting on a pile of some $2 million in cash.
According to Stearns' most recent campaign finance filing with the Federal Election Commission, the 12-term congressman had more than $2 million in cash on hand for his reelection campaign. A Republican operative said that Stearns was still sitting on a similar amount of cash as he lost to his Tea Party challenger, the large animal veterinarian Ted Yoho.
That money could have come in handy as Stearns lost by only 800 votes in Tuesday night's primary, a tiny margin for a congressional race. Yoho raised only $300,000 for the whole race through July 25, according to his most recent FEC filings.
The GOP official said that House leadership was not looking forward to dealing with one more difficult-to-corral member, and that Stearns was seen as selfish. "And now there is another Tea Partier heading to D.C. He was a senior member that didn't take his race seriously and kept his money," he said.
Yoho appears to have won with an argument that has worked for other Tea Party challengers to GOP incumbents. In one ad run by the Yoho campaign, his opponents, including Stearns, were accused of being career politicians and portrayed as pigs eating from a trough. Yoho was the only candidate in the primary race who had never held elected office.
Stearns had raised his national profile recently with investigations into Planned Parenthood and government loans to the failed solar-energy company Solyndra.
The Stearns campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tea Party insurgent Christine O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/14/delaware-election-results_n_715598.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> GOP establishment candidate Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary in 2010. O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/chris-coons-defeats-chris_n_765874.html" target="_hplink">lost</a> in the state's general election contest to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
After serving six terms in the Senate, Indiana Republican Richard Lugar <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/dick-lugar-richard-mourdock-lugar-loses-indiana-republican-senate-primary_n_1501416.html" target="_hplink">was defeated</a> by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock in a primary contest in the 2012 election season.
Former Sen. Bob Bennett was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/08/bob-bennett-utah-gop-senate_n_568988.html" target="_hplink">ousted from his post</a> at the 2010 Utah GOP Convention. Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee currently holds Bennett's old seat.
Before winning another term in the 2010 midterm election, Sen. Lisa Murkowski was defeated by Tea Party-backed <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/26/joe-miller-alaska-candida_n_694559.html" target="_hplink">Joe Miller</a> in Alaska's race for the Republican Senate nomination. Murkowski mounted a successful <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/12/alaska-senate-race-write-in-ballots_n_782724.html" target="_hplink">write-in campaign</a> to keep her seat.
Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/09/sharron-angle-wins-nevada_n_605366.html" target="_hplink">crushed</a> GOP establishment pick Sue Lowden's political ambitions in Nevada's GOP Senate primary in 2010. Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/harry-reid-sharron-angle_n_765995.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the general election.
GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton was defeated by Tea Party-backed Ken Buck in Colorado's 2010 Senate GOP primary. Buck ultimately <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/colorado-election-results_1_n_765865.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran for Senate as an independent after beginning his campaign as a Republican in 2010, ultimately fell short in his political operation. Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/marco-rubio-defeats-charlie-crist-kendrick-meek_n_765882.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> Christ and Democrat Kendrick Meek in Florida's Senate general election match-up.