Florida state representative resigns after federal indictment, race for seat heats

ORLANDO, Fla. — The race to replace a former state lawmaker out of Ocala is heating up.

Former Republican State Representative Joe Harding stepped down last month after being arrested on federal fraud charges.


Harding is accused of participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and illegally collecting COVID-19 business loans.

In early December, a federal grand jury indicted Harding for wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements.

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Harding’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville.

State records indicate that five republicans have opened campaign accounts to run for that open seat.

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So far, no democratic candidates have put their names in the race.

The primary is scheduled for March 7.

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