The contest between Orlando’s Eric Eisnaugle and Pinellas Chris Sprowls to serve as Speaker of the Florida House beginning in 2021 ended Friday evening, just hours after the 2016 Legislative Session came to a fitful conclusion.
According to three sources, Eisnaugle personally conceded to Sprowls, who just the day before won over the support of state Reps. Paul Renner and Mike Miller. With those two votes, Sprowls had an insurmountable 14-7 pledge lead.
Several of Sprowls’ colleagues in the House tweeted their support after Renner and Miller flipped.
On Friday, Eisnaugle officially released his remaining pledges; one House member told FloridaPolitics.com.
“It’s done,” said another Republican lawmaker.
At one point, Eisnaugle was the frontrunner for the leadership position. But reports emerged that some of his colleagues said he became aloof and disconnected from the membership after winning a majority of pledges. Sprowls emerged as the leading Tampa Bay-area alternative not soon after.
Sprowls, a 32-year-old assistant prosecutor, beat former state Rep. Carl Zimmerman, a Democrat and high school teacher who held one term in the District 65 seat.
The winner of the leadership race will be designated House Speaker in 2021, assuming the GOP maintains its majority in the 120-member chamber, which now stands at 81 Republicans to 39 Democrats.