Joe Harding maintains lead in HD 22 contest

Joe Harding-01
December was competitive, but Harding still holds the edge.

Joe Harding kept pace with Russ Randall in December, maintaining his lead in the Republican primary to succeed term-limited Rep. Charlie Stone in House District 22.

Harding added an even $6,000 in December, bringing his overall fundraising total to $123,000 since entering the race in February. Spending has been light so far, leaving him with about $118,000 in the bank heading into January.

Harding’s total includes $14,200 in candidate loans.

His December haul came in across six $1,000 checks, the maximum allowable campaign donation for state legislative races. The donor list included the Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government Committee and Tri-Eagle Sales, with the other four checks coming from individuals.

Randall came in just behind with $5,235 in new money, including max checks from Chiropac PC ands Douglas Murphy, an Ocala physician.

The report brings his to-date total to $91,579. Less $1,747 in spending, he has $89,831 banked.

The pair are currently the only candidates competing for HD 22, which covers all of Levy County as well as southwest Marion County, including parts of Ocala and Dunnellon.

Their campaign reports tell the full story as neither candidate had filed a statement of solicitation for a political committee as of mid-January.

Former Rep. Kurt Kelly was running for the seat, though he stepped aside in mid-September, ensuring — for now — that a fresh face will serve as the district’s next representative.

Even if new filers sign up for the race, the contest will most likely be decided in the August primary election as HD 22 is a safe Republican seat — of the 120,000 voters in the district about 53,000 are registered Republicans and 40,000 are registered Democrats.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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