Special election dates set for seat vacated by Joe Harding who resigned following indictment

Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, offers closing remarks on HB 735, a bill relating to Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing, on the House floor. April 1, 2021. [Credit: Florida House of Representatives]

Gov. Ron DeSantis has scheduled a March 7 special primary and a May 16 special election to replace former state Rep. Joe Harding, an Ocala Republican who resigned after being indicted on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements. 

DeSantis issued an executive order Monday setting the election dates in House District 24, and Secretary of State Cord Byrd issued a notice providing further details, according to copies of the documents posted on the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website. 


Harding resigned from the Marion County House seat on Dec. 8 after being indicted on charges that he fraudulently obtained coronavirus-related business loans. Harding was first elected to the House in 2020 and ran unopposed this year. 

Republicans Ryan Chamberlin and Jose Juarez have opened campaign accounts to run for the seat. A formal qualifying period will be held from 8 a.m. Jan. 9 through noon Jan. 10, according to the notice issued by Byrd. The 2023 regular legislative session will start on March 7 and is scheduled to end on May 5.