Ryan Chamberlin files in HD 24 ahead of expected Special Election
Ryan Chamberlin.

Ryan Chamberlin
He defended former Rep. Joe Harding as a target of political prosecutors.

A Special Election still hasn’t been called to replace state Rep. Joe Harding. But two candidates have already tossed their hat in the ring to replace him.

Conservative author Ryan Chamberlin, an Ocala Republican, is launching a campaign in House District 24. He said many Ocala leaders had already approached him about running for a neighboring seat.

“Over the past several months, my wife and I had been approached by many people in Marion County about running for the seat being vacated by State Rep. Stan McClain due to term limits,” Chamberlin said.

“Although Stan was our Rep. for years, due to recent redistricting, we would need to consider moving at least 1 mile or more from where we currently live because we know how important it is to keep true conservatives in the Legislature who will stand with Gov. Ron DeSantis against the establishment and woke liberals.”

Ahead of running, Chamberlin has been a political consultant and conservative speaker. He just co-authored “Think Big,” his fifth book. He also launched the True Patriot Network, an online social media platform.

The decennial redistricting process led to quite a few real estate transactions ahead of the Midterm Elections. Harding left Williston purportedly to be near a new job in Ocala and won re-election unopposed in HD 24 — and the move meant Harding avoided ending up in the same district as Rep. Chuck Clemons. That initially put him in the same district as McClain, but McClain ended up running in House District 27, where he won a fourth term unopposed.

Those moves left Chamberlin in a seat with a second-term Representative instead of one about to be termed out.

But the political landscape shifted rapidly after Harding was indicted on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements, accusations stemming from a pursuit of a COVID-19 loan for businesses. He resigned his seat in the House a day after federal prosecutors announced charges.

Chamberlin notably defended Harding, and suggested the lawmaker was being unfairly targeted by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department for sponsoring what critics decry as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“Our hearts were broken over the announcement made last week by Rep. Joe Harding that he was stepping down from his legislative seat,” Chamberlin said.

“Joe has been a fighter who has been willing to put it all on the line for the conservative movement. There is no doubt that his commitment to principle and his being the co-sponsor of the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ legislation made him a target for the left and the Biden Department of Justice. We need someone to step right up where he left off to continue to fight for the people and families of the free state of Florida.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to call a Special Election to fill Harding’s seat. Chamberlin on Friday filed to run for Harding’s seat in 2024, and said he will file for the Special Election as soon as it is called.

He’s one of two Republicans running in the seat. Ocala businessman Jose Juarez announced on Monday.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Peggy

    December 13, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Wasn’t this guy arrested by the FBI in San Francisco about 10 years ago? He made a bomb threat or something. You’d think that would end your political career anywhere, but I guess not.

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