Last month a tornado ripped through parts of Marion County and nearby areas, causing upward of $20 million in damage.

Florida Republicans Line Up For Harding House Seat

The race to replace former state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala, in a special election in Marion County’s House District 24 is getting crowded.
Former state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala

The race to replace former state Rep. Joe Harding, R-Ocala, in a special election in Marion County’s House District 24 is getting crowded.

Five Republicans, including former Rep. Charlie Stone, R-Ocala, have opened campaign accounts to run for the seat, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Stone, who served in the House from 2012 to 2020, opened an account last week. The latest candidate filing for the race was Ocala Republican Lateresa Ann Jones, who opened an account Wednesday.

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Candidates filing paperwork earlier were Ocala Republican Stephen Pyles, Belleview Republican Ryan Chamberlin, and Ocala Republican Jose Juarez.

No Democratic candidates had opened accounts as of Friday morning, according to the Division of Elections website. The formal qualifying period for the race will be held on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10.

A primary election will be held on March 7, with a general election scheduled for May 16 if it is needed.

Harding resigned from the House after being indicted on federal charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.

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