Updated: May 12, 2020
Kevin Derby | May 6, 2020
The Tea Party Express, which dubs itself as the “nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee,” threw its support behind Kat Cammack’s bid to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
Cammack, who served as Yoho’s deputy chief of staff and helped him pull off one of the largest upsets in Florida history when he defeated longtime U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., is running in a crowded primary to replace him. Yoho is following through with a campaign pledge he made in 2012 to serve only four terms in Congress.
Sal Russo, who helped found the Tea Party Express and serves as its chief strategist, weighed in on Wednesday on why his group was backing Cammack.
“During his four terms in Congress, Congressman Ted Yoho has been a stalwart advocate for tea party principles,” Russo said. “We cannot think of a better person to succeed Congressman Yoho than his Deputy Chief of Staff, Kat Cammack, who has worked tirelessly at his side for many years. Yoho is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, and he has fought to curb the power of federal bureaucracy, lower taxes, and slash wasteful spending. While we are sad to lose a stalwart conservative like Ted in Congress, we thank him for his leadership and commend him for remaining true to his pledge to only serve four terms.
“When the Tea Party Express bus first rolled through Florida, Kat was one of the first people to enthusiastically greet us, and we were impressed by her leadership abilities on the grassroots level and her embrace of tea party principles. Having grown up on a cattle ranch and worked in her family’s small businesses, Kat witnessed the failures of overregulation and high taxes firsthand. Her disillusion with the failures of heavy-handed government led her to become involved in politics. Serving alongside Congressman Yoho since the day he was elected, Kat led his efforts to implement policies that encourage investment and create jobs. She is not afraid to stand up to business as usual in Washington, and she will be a strong voice for fiscal restraint and economic freedom,” Russo continued.
“With Democrats falsely laying blame for the coronavirus at President Trump’s feet and using it to advance their big government agenda, it is critical to elect conservatives to Congress. The liberals’ appetite for running up the deficit through pork-barrel spending and left-wing social programs only undermines our economic recovery and drives up the federal budget deficit. We need conservative leaders like Kat Cammack who understand that government must stop the irresponsible spending and get out of the way so that entrepreneurs and job creators can put America back to work again,” Russo concluded.
Other candidates running in the Republican primary include businessman Ryan Chamberlin, former Gainesville City Commissioner Todd Chase, businessman Bill Engelbrecht, former congressional aide Joe Millado, Clay County Commissioner Gavin Rollins, businessman and former congressional aide Judson Sapp, Dr. James St. George who is a physician, businessman David Theus and businesswoman Amy Pope Wells. Three Democrats–businessman Adam Christensen, businessman Phil Dodds and scientist Tom Wells–are running for their party’s nomination in what is considered a safe Republican district. The district includes parts of North Florida stretching from Clay County to Gainesville and the northern part of Marion County.