U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho will keep his pledge to only serve four terms in Congress.
The Republican U.S. representative of Florida’s 3rd District announced Tuesday on his Facebook page that he would not seek reelection and would retire at the end of his current term in January 2021.
Yoho could not immediately be reached for comment.
“The people make it the best place and you are the reason it was such an honor to be your Representative in the United States Congress,” Yoho wrote in the Facebook post. “Our Nation is the best on the planet and as time passes, new ideas need to be instilled to preserve the Republic we’ve been blessed with.”
In his official resignation letter, Yoho addresses his eight-year pledge.
“I was told the district has changed three times and so the pledge isn’t binding and I could rationalize that,” Yoho wrote in the statement. “However, I truly believe a person’s word is their bond and should live up to their word.”
Yoho, a former veterinarian and a UF alumnus, has represented District 3 since 2013. He told The Alligator in 2018 that he wanted to pursue politics after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. He said he wanted to reform health care to lower costs. He also wanted to strengthen immigration laws, revamp foreign policy and implement cybersecurity legislation.
When he first ran for Congress in 2012, Yoho stated in a political advertisement that “after eight years in Washington, I’ll come home.” It remained unclear if he would break this pledge until Tuesday, as the Congressman is filed for the 2020 election with the Federal Election Commission.
He received about $73,162 in contributions from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 for the 2020 election, making Yoho the top fundraising candidate in the district race.
Yoho had the support of his Republican constituents regardless of whether he kept his pledge or not, according to a recent poll by Meer Research. About 66% of Republican voters in Florida’s 3rd district have a very favorable opinion of him.
Yoho was elected for his fourth consecutive term in 2018 with more than 58% of the vote. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, his Democratic opponent in the race, received 42% of the vote.
The deactivation of Yoho’s personal Twitter account on Oct. 30 was thought to have been his unofficial resignation from Congress, but it was reactivated the following day. The account was mistakenly suspended after a reported post addressing Yoho’s late friend, according to his spokesperson Kat Cammack.
In 2017, Yoho met with UF students and UF President Kent Fuchs to talk about raising more funds for the National Science Foundation. At the time, he said it was time to push for more research and development funding because China was investing heavily in research and was expected to get ahead of the U.S.
A year later, about 100 protesters marched from Buchholz High School to Yoho’s office at 5000 NW 27th Court, where they honored the victims of the Parkland shooting and advocated for stronger gun regulations.
Republicans Joseph Millado, Matthew Raines, Judson Sapp and Amy Pope Wells and Democrats Philip Dodds and Tom Wells are running for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the Florida Division of Elections.