Jeff Moran’s surprise departure from Florida’s 2nd Congressional District race late last week ignited a scramble among the remaining Republican candidates to scoop up anything of value, including volunteers, financial supporters, and perhaps the most lucrative asset, Congressman Ted Yoho’s endorsement. But Yoho told the Capitolist he has no plans to endorse any other candidate outside his own district.
“I have a rule of thumb that if I can’t vote for someone, I don’t endorse them,” Yoho said. “I made an exception for Jeff.”
Yoho’s endorsement is valuable because eight of the thirteen counties comprising the newly formed 2nd Congressional District once belonged to Yoho.
“I know the people in those counties,” Yoho said. “I know the families, I know their values. Those people are like family to me. And I endorsed Jeff because I wanted to get someone we knew had those same values.”
The Capitolist also learned that representatives close to Neal Dunn and Ken Sukhia both actively sought the endorsement, and Yoho later confirmed he was contacted by two different campaigns in the past week. “I’ve told them both I won’t endorse, but I won’t work against you.”
Mary Thomas’s campaign declined to comment on whether they actively sought Yoho’s endorsement. Matt Joyner, campaign manager for Thomas, issued a statement via email, saying “Mary thanks Congressman Yoho for standing up for America. If elected, Mary looks forward to serving with Congressman Yoho in the House Freedom Caucus.”
While the battle for Yoho’s endorsement ended in a draw, some are painting that as a win for Sukhia.
According to one Republican strategist “Everybody knows that Steve Southerland called Yoho and asked him to endorse Dunn. The fact that Sukhia prevented that from happening is a huge win for Ken.”
Republicans will choose their congressional nominee on August 30th.