Florida House District 24 special election gets more crowded

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Posted January 11, 2023 |

After growing up in a family centered around politics, Justin Albright decided it was finally time to run for an elected public office once the District 24 seat of the Florida House of Representatives was vacated.

A special election will take place for the seat vacated by Ocala Republican Joe Harding after his resignation. Harding resigned on Dec. 8 after being indicted by a federal grand jury on several counts of fraud based on illegally obtaining pandemic-related loans.

The primary special election, declared by the governor, will take place on March 7. A general special election will take place on May 16 if needed.

Albright said that “politics is kind of in my blood,” and decided to run for an elected office after serving on several public boards in Ocala and Marion County throughout the years.

“I think that most residents in Marion County—Republicans—they’re looking for a change for something different,” Albright said. “A change in direction, from what the status quo is. I think that I’m the person to take us in that direction.”

Albright works as a licensed real estate agent and has a history of governmental service, including serving on the Marion County Board of Adjustment, the Ocala Planning and Zoning Commission and the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Albright does come from a family of politics; the “blood” he mentions is his half-brother, Marion County Tax Collector George Albright.

In a statement posted from his wife’s Facebook account, George Albright said he was completely unaware of his sibling’s campaign and was “shocked” that he would run for the vacated House seat.

“We in no way, shape or form condone or endorse his candidacy,” he said in the post. “Marion County deserves better!”

In response to his brother’s post, the candidate said it was merely a disagreement between family members and said that George Albright had been informed of Albright’s intent to run.

“It saddens me that he has to resort to referring to me as a half-brother. I feel like that’s derogatory,” he said.

He said he believes George Albright is offering his support to another candidate for the District 24 House seat.

“I think he’s supporting Mr. [Charlie] Stone,” he said. “Charlie and I have no problem with each other, and I have no qualms with my brother…sometimes family doesn’t see eye to eye.”

Albright described himself as a strong conservative who supports the Second Amendment and opposes abortion. He is also passionate about mental health and expressed interest in improving resources for those with mental health issues and addiction, primarily veterans.

“I think that more awareness for mental health could ease so much pressure on our local jails,” he said. “I think that that’s something that we need a voice in Tallahassee for.”

Albright also expressed interest in controlling growth in Marion County and easing its impacts on the county’s infrastructure.

“I would make it a priority to make sure that we get all of the funds available for transportation needs. Here, for our roads here locally,” he said. “We’ve got to have somebody who’s going to fight for our fair share here.”

So far, Albright and five other candidates have entered the race for the House seat. He will be opposing fellow Republicans Charlie Stone, Stephen Pyles, Jose Juarez and Ryan Chamberlain as well as write-in candidate Robert “Foxy” Fox.

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