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Cliff Stearns Primary Loss Came As He Sat On Some $2 Million

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Rep. Cliff Stearns lost reelection to a 13th term while sitting on a war chest of some $2 million.
Rep. Cliff Stearns lost reelection to a 13th term while sitting on a war chest of some $2 million.

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.

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