Chamberlin wins House District 24
Ryan Chamberlin’s mailer photo.
Editor’s Note: Voting stats have been corrected with additional information following the canvassing board’s first official results dated 5/18/23.
Unofficial results from the Marion County Supervisor of Elections Office show Chamberlin received 6,685 votes, winning the special election for House Seat 24.
The write-in candidate, Robert “Foxy” Fox received 883 votes. Although it is not the highest number of votes ever cast for a write-in candidate, it is a record-setting percentage of voter turnout in a write-in candidate’s favor.
Notably, 190 ballots were cast blank.
There were no Democrats in the race. Out of 133,738 registered voters in House District 24, only 8,761. cast ballots–a voter turnout of 6.55%.
The special election was needed to fill the seat vacated in December when incumbent Joe Harding resigned after being indicted on several federal fraud charges related to pandemic-era relief funding. The Ocala Republican has pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced in July.
This was Chamberlin’s second political campaign. He ran for Congress in 2020 and lost in the Republican primary to Kat Cammack, who went on to win the House District 3 seat.
The bulk of Chamberlin’s votes in Tuesday’s election, a total of 4,832, were vote-by-mail ballots. Ironically, Chamberlin had repeatedly expressed a lack of trust in mail-in voting on the campaign trail.
At a candidate forum during the primary election, Chamberlin was asked what measures he would use to combat voter fraud. He told the audience he would make sure everyone had access to a 2020 election denial political conspiracy theory film called “2000 mules,” which purportedly follows unnamed nonprofits that harvest ballots.
Chamberlin, 48, calls himself a “red-meat conservative” in the mold of Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He also promotes himself as a savvy networker, successful businessman, author, speaker, and “consultant helping thousands of entrepreneurs.”
Chamberlin’s campaign raised several concerns about how the race developed as well as the sources of his income and the funding of his campaign.
Fox said he was “duped’’ by Chamberlin’s campaign treasurer into running as a write-in candidate in the primary, a move that effectively closed the door to Democratic and independent voters. Jose Juarez, one of the other candidates in the primary, has filed a suit against a Chamberlin-affiliated political action committee that he says sent out campaign mailers containing false information about him. The attack mailers followed a move by Chamberlin to get the other candidates to sign on to a “clean campaign’’ pledge.
Chamberlin used DeSantis’ image in advertising collateral throughout his campaign, which led some voters to believe the governor had endorsed him. DeSantis did not formally endorse Chamberlin.
During his campaign, Chamberlin reportedly “loaned” his campaign $75,000, although his initial financial disclosures did not reflect access to that amount of funds. He refused to provide proof of the transfer of personal funds; all the other four candidates in the March primary election complied with the request from the “Gazette’’ for the information.
His greatest source of reported income comes from his company, True Patriot Network, which he says connects conservative politicians and organizations with donors through advertising on the online platform.
According to corporate records, True Patriot Network, Inc. was filed as a corporation in Texas in January 2021. Chamberlin told the “Gazette” the social media platform launched the same year.
The only director’s name on the initial filing is Terry LaCore, an entrepreneur in Texas in the business of B:hip. This multilevel marketing (MLM) company sells energy and health products. Chamberlin said LaCore is the majority shareholder, and Chamberlin is the main operator of the True Patriot Network.
TPN does not have any employees. Chamberlin explained the network relies instead on a host of independent contracting resources, many of which come from LaCore’s other businesses.
A check of public records found no evidence that TPN is operated at the location on file with the state. The tax collector for that address in Texas has no record of the True Patriot Network paying any business property taxes.
Asked about how the TPN social media platform and newsletter generates income, Chamberlin’s short answer was through advertising revenue. The “Gazette” found no sponsored ads when it navigated the platform over a 10-day period.
By May of 2022, 16 months after the company started, Chamberlin shared the quick success of the True Patriot Network in a book called “Think Big!,” a motivational book series that discusses the path to success.
When the “Gazette” joined the True Patriot Network platform, the newspaper was automatically set to follow Chamberlin’s political campaign, longtime Republican operative and convicted felon Roger Stone, and three other persons.
There was very little social activity in the “news feed,” but the review found videos in which Chamberlin was shown teaching a group of people about multilevel marketing businesses. In a video posted last month, Chamberlin is shown encouraging people to be patient with their progress in building their MLM business.
When asked if there is an MLM aspect to the True Patriot Network, Chamberlin said no. He said the video on the site was an example of him being hired to do sales training for another MLM business.
A review of Chamberlin’s online speaking engagements and more recent podcast-type content seems to focus on three areas: MLM business strategies, personal development and partisan politics.
In an interview with The Network Marketing Magazine, which seems to be at least 10 years old, Chamberlin explained how he first got started in the MLM business model by joining Team National in October of 1999 at age 25.
Team National was a company that encouraged people to sell “memberships” so that they would have the benefit of discounts when buying merchandise. As with other MLM business models, participants enlisted other people to sell memberships in order to build multiple commission layers.
Chamberlin told the Gazette that he quickly excelled at Team National and was placed on the company’s board of directors. In 2011, he left Team National. ACN, Inc., another MLM business, bought the company in January 2022.
Around 2011, Chamberlin and his wife, Jennifer, became “ambassadors” for another MLM business, Evolve, that sold nutritional health products. In one recorded session from 2016, Jennifer Chamberlin encourages people to “reboot” at their convention for the company so that they could get to the “diamond” level of the MLM business. She also shared her hope that through a multilevel marketing business she’d be able to fulfill her dream of opening an orphanage one day.
Asked about the perception among some that MLM businesses are not trustworthy, Chamberlin responded, “There are good ones and bad ones. I worked for good ones.”
As for his campaign claim of being a “consultant helping thousands of entrepreneurs and CEOs,” it seems like the bulk of Chamberlin’s consulting working is primarily related to helping people build MLM businesses.
When the “Gazette” asked Chamberlin if he felt it would be a conflict of interest to do TPN business raising money for the same conservative lawmakers he would be serving alongside of in Tallahassee, he replied, “No, I think it’s a good thing.”
The “Gazette” reached out to Chamberlin to ask what he hoped to accomplish in his first year and office, but Chamberlin did not respond to the inquiry prior to publishing.