Florida doctors back Joe Harding for HD 22
Joe Harding's abrupt exit means the House is scrambling to fill his committee assignments.

Harding is running to succeed term-limited Rep. Charlie Stone.

Joe Harding picked up an endorsement from the Florida Medical Association PAC in the Republican primary for House District 22.

“The FMA PAC is honored to endorse Joe Harding for House District 22. Mr. Harding understands hard work and the difficulty of running a small business in Florida which many physicians’ practices are. We look forward to engaging him in all health care issues important to the state,” FMA PAC President Doug Murphy said.

FMA PAC is the political arm of the Florida Medical Association, a trade group with more than 25,000 members that advocates for policies beneficial to doctors.

“I’m looking forward to working hard for the men and women of our healthcare community. While it is unfortunate that it took a worldwide pandemic to shine a light on the sacrifices they make to keep us safe, we must take this opportunity to improve our healthcare system and make it safer and easier for them to deliver quality and affordable healthcare for our health care consumers,” Harding said.

FMA PAC’s endorsement comes a few days after Harding locked up support from the Florida Police Benevolent Association, another significant statewide trade group. Other backers include Gilchrist Sheriff Bobby Schultz and Levy Sheriff Bobby McCallum.

Harding faces Russ Randall in the Aug. 18 Republican primary for HD 22, which is open this year due to Rep. Charlie Stone facing term limits.

As of July 10, Harding had raised more than $140,000 for his campaign and had about $118,000 in the bank, giving him an edge over Randall, who had raised $111,000 and had about $70,000 left to spend through the same date.

The winner will move on to face Morriston Democrat Barbara Byram in the general election.

HD 22 covers all of Levy County as well as southwest Marion County, including parts of Ocala and Dunnellon. It 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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