Former U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho endorsed Tampa Republican James Judge’s campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.
He cited professional connections with Judge in the medical field.
“Being a veterinarian by trade, I had the opportunity to meet James in 2016 when his company was unveiling a new, life-like, detailed surgical trainer developed through a private sector partnership with the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine,” Yoho said.
“Since then, I’ve had him over to my home, gotten to know him, and I firmly believe he is not only qualified as a military veteran and small business owner, but he’s just the right kind of guy you want to help guide our republic back on course and represent the good people of the Tampa Bay area.”
Yoho, a Gainesville Republican, served with Castor in the U.S. House from 2013 to 2021. He first won a seat in Congress unseating an incumbent, former U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, in a Republican Primary.
Judge filed in January to challenge Castor and quickly established himself as a solid fundraiser.
He embraced the North Florida politician’s support.
“I’m truly honored to receive Congressman Yoho’s endorsement, as he is an inspiration to me on many fronts, and I look forward to relying on his wise counsel, once I am elected,” Judge said.
“Early on, he set a phenomenal example by pledging to stick to self-imposed term-limits, as I also plan to do. He also chose to break with the rank-and-file members of the party and participated as a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which has consistently stood by conservative values and also attempted to reign in egregious government spending.”
Yoho retired last election cycle after serving four terms and was succeeded by U.S. Rep Kat Cammack, a Gainesville Republican and his former staffer.
The support from Yoho comes days after Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard also endorsed Judge.
Still, the race remains an uphill climb, and more of one than it likely appeared when Judge first filed. That’s largely thanks to a new congressional map designed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that will almost certainly govern the 2022 election cycle.
While the map resulted in a neighboring Pinellas County-based seat becoming much more Republican, it made Florida’s 14th Congressional District a much safer jurisdiction for Democrats. About 58.8% of voters in the newly configured CD 14 voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election, compared to Republican Donald Trump’s 39.72%.