Early voting underway in Marion County for Florida House District 24 special election

Five Republican candidates are vying for the seat that opened up when Joe Harding resigned
Five Republican candidates are vying for the seat that opened up when Joe Harding resigned
Published: Feb. 25, 2023 at 9:46 PM EST
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MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - Early voting is underway in Marion County with five candidates vying to fill the vacant seat in Florida’s State House District 24.

The seat opened up when Joe Harding resigned following an indictment on charges of money laundering, wire fraud, and making false statements in regards to PPP loans.

One couple voting in the election weighed in on whether they think the proper use of PPP loans is a high priority for them in this election.

“Not at all,” said Barb Schmidt.

“Initially I was thinking about it,” said her husband, Bob, “but as we went to forums it became less and less relevant. It was made an issue by somebody that thought they could make it an issue, but when I dug into it and started to look a little bit further and asked the candidates--each one of the candidates--about their ppp loans, it became a non-issue for me.”

The five Republican candidates in the race are Ryan Chamberlain, Justin Albright, Jose Juarez, Stephen Pyles and Charlie Stone.

The Schmidts discussed the main issues they are focused on in the election.

“I would like to see this candidate--whoever goes to Tallahassee--fix some of the issues or at least put in place enablers that will allow us to take and fix Marion County’s school performance,” said Bob.

Marion County’s Supervisor of Elections says he expects a 15 to 20 percent turnout for the election.

“Today was our first day of early voting it has started off...fairly slowly across the county,” said Wesley Wilcox, “but hopefully as more people realize that early voting is going on, we’ll start to get a little better turnout as we move into the rest of the week.”

Early voting is open until March 4th and Election Day is set for March 7th.

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