On Tuesday, Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho announced he would retire in 2020, holding true to his long-running pledge not to serve more than four terms. Yoho has never had any trouble holding onto this district in north-central Florida, which we have calculated as backing Trump by 56-40 in 2016, and Republicans should be heavily favored to keep the open seat next year.
Formerly a large animal veterinarian, Yoho was first elected to the House in 2012 when he pulled off an upset primary challenge against longtime GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns, prevailing by a slim 34-33 margin. Yoho ran as a tea partying insurgent and benefited considerably from redistricting, which had seen Republican lawmakers give Sterns a district where more than one-third of the population was new to him. Yoho dominated in those new parts of the district in the primary, and it's possible that being a large animal vet was a potent asset in rural communities.
Once in Congress, Yoho was a reliable member of the radical-right House Freedom Caucus, compiling one of the most right-wing voting records in the House. True to form for the modern right flank of the GOP, Yoho once infamously said, "I’ve had some radical ideas about voting and it’s probably not a good time to tell them. But you used to have to be a property owner to vote," and he furthermore called voting a "privilege" for those who deserved it even though federal law defines it as a fundamental right.
Yoho further attained notoriety back in 2013 when he suggested that not raising the debt ceiling and thus the U.S. defaulting on its debts "would bring stability to the world markets." Republicans repeatedly took the debt ceiling hostage when they flipped the House in 2010, and analysts had widely warned that not raising the limit and defaulting would likely trigger a global financial crisis and economic downturn.
A few Republicans were already running for Yoho's seat before he confirmed he would retire, including 2018 primary challenger Judson Sapp and businesswoman Amy Pope Wells. However, with the filing deadline for the August primary not being until April 24, there's still plenty of time for more candidates to join the race for this decidedly red seat.