OCALA, Fla. – Voters in Marion County will decide on Tuesday whether a Republican or a write-in candidate will represent them in the Florida Legislature.
Ryan Chamberlin and Robert “Foxy” Fox are facing each other for the Florida House District 24 special election.
While Chamberlin’s name will be on the ballot as the Republican candidate, Fox’s name must be written in on the ballot.
Chamberlin, author, consultant and CEO of conservative social media platform True Patriot Network, says his main priorities include supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda in the Florida House, especially against so-called “wokeism” in schools, lowering property taxes, and improving infrastructure in Marion County, which has experienced a lot of growth in recent years.
Fox, a longtime bail bondsman and private investigator, wants to focus on reforming criminal justice in the state, increasing transparency by requiring Florida Highway Patrol troopers to wear body cameras, and fighting corruption at all levels of government.
One of the laws he wants to fix involves write-in candidates and is based on his own experience with the race. Fox told News 6 that he got into the Florida House 24 race as a write-in candidate to close the Republican primary that took place in March to only GOP voters. Fox later said he was approached to do so by a man who turned out to be a consultant for Chamberlin.
Florida is the only state in the country with the concept of a universal primary. In the event that only candidates for one political party qualify for an election, any party primary is made open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.
But all it takes to close the primary again is the addition of a write-in candidate. This loophole has been used by both parties in recent years as ways to benefit certain candidates.
Fox wants to see that changed.
A special election was called for Florida House District 24 after the previous representative, Joe Harding, resigned after being indicted by a federal grand jury for COVID-19 small business loan fraud. Harding took a plea deal in March.
According to the Marion County supervisor of elections office, 6,737 have either voted early or voted by mail so far, out of 133,736 active eligible voters — a turnout of 5.04%.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m. You can find a polling place on the Marion County supervisor of elections office’s website.
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