By Jacob Engels
Rumor has it that Orlando area representative Eric Eisnaugle, the presumptive speaker of the house for 2020-2022 has run in to problems with his class over the handling over industry food fights, a perceived absence of concern with what the class thinks, and of his handling of the gay adoption debate currently taking in Tallahassee.
One member of the class, who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity, said the following:
“Eric has problems with our class. If the vote was today, he would not have a majority of the freshman class supporting him. He was eager to talk and work with us while he was running for speaker, but since he got it there is a noticeable disconnect.
He has interjected himself in to some curious industry fights, and out of the gate there are some of us who believe that we would be punished for disagreeing with him. Things got really bad last week when the house was implementing language that would permit gay adoption in Florida. Some in our class are for it, some are indifferent and some are against it. Eric seemed to bounce back and forth. When all was said and done, he showed no leadership.
It seemed like he did what he had to do to pacify people. There have been grumblings ever since then about his leadership skills and what our next eight years looked like.”
This is only one person’s opinion, but it is somebody that was enthusiastically supportive of him in the past. I asked who showed the most promise in the class should Eisnaugle not be the speaker.
Three names seem to have surfaced:
1) Jay Fant – the wealthy banker from Jacksonville has earned early respect from his class. He is straight out of central casting for the job. Jacksonville has not had a speaker since John Thrasher, now the president of FSU, from 1998-2000
2) Shawn Harrison – like Eisnaugle, Harrison served before, from 2010-2012. He lost his seat and then won it back. He is well liked and believed to be a more moderate force. He is well liked by the class, and has relationships with senior members due to his previous service.
3) Blaise Ingoglia – viewed as the hardest worker in the Republican Party of Florida, Ingoglia defeated the governor’s hand picked candidate for RPOF chair earlier this year. There are those that believe if his heart had been in the speakers race, he would likely have won the first time around. Now the head of the state party, there would be questions of how he could do both, but there is no more natural a leader in the freshman class.
Is this much ado about nothing, or it could be the first crack in the dam of the next decade’s first speaker.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org