The Tampa area State Representative’s team is claiming victory after fellow Tampa Representative Shawn Harrison switched his pledge from Team Eisnaugle to Sprowls. NOT SO FAST….
By Jacob Engels
Months ago, the East Orlando Post was the first to report that a coup was in to stop Central Florida State Representative Eric Eisnaugle from becoming Speaker of the House during the 2021-2022 term.
At the center of the drama was the fact that Spring Hill State Representative and Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia had been quietly testing the waters, a claim he would later deny.
Publicly however, an alliance of mostly Tampa lawmakers had coalesced around Chris Sprowls, who as Saintpetersblog’s Peter Schorsch has said, is making a guerrilla effort to grab the Speakership.
On Wednesday, December 3rd, Shawn Harrison publicly announced the fact that he was switching his support from Eisnaugle to Sprowls, first reported by Saintpetersblog. This is interesting and laughable for several reasons.
First, when we broke the story on the highly unorganized coup effort, Harrison was quick to publicly state on Twitter that he was firmly behind Eisnaugle, and that “his pledge his bond.”
“@JacobEngels @BlaiseIngoglia @jay_fant Honored but not sure where this came from. I support my friend @EricEisnaugle. My pledge is my bond,” wrote Harrison.
Ironically though, it seems Mr. Harrison has since deleted that tweet to mitigate claims of hypocrisy. He now joins the ranks of politicians who have attempted to cover-up evidence that demonstrates their blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty, by purging their Twitter accounts of tweets that no longer reflect their evolving moral or ethical reasoning.
Does that make you a liar Representative? And if you are so eager to break your bond on this issue, where do you draw the line in your personal, political, and professional life? Hmmmm…
Saintpetersblog’s Peter Schorsch was quick to claim victory for Sprowls’ “deja-coup”, but the fight is far from over and Sprowls is still significantly behind. Representative Harrison currently sits in the weakest Republican state house districts in the state, according to a veteran Republican operative tasked with ranking the probabilities of members chances at re-election.
“His district went to Obama last time and there are serious concerns about whether or not he can even survive to cast a vote in this Speaker race. He has personally expressed to several donors that he is worried about holding on.”
Sources in the capitol have confirmed with the East Orlando Post that Harrison has been exploring a local commission race or possible Senate seat. This means that there are three outcomes that could make Harrison’s pledge of support moot, and one outcome that would MAYBE mean he could actually a vote… if he can hold on to his seat.
So, there is actually a more than 75% chance that Harrison’s support is inconsequential, and 25% chance that he could make a difference. If Sprowls wants to hang his hat on those chances, he is probably the guy who you see getting dragged out of the casino by an angry wife after betting away their life savings at the blackjack table.
Back to 9 to 9 – a dead heat for the 2021-2022 Speaker race.
Actually though, when you count the pledges from classes below and above this class, Eisnaugle sits at 30 secured to Sprowls 10. Now, let us move on to examining Sprowls’ other top lieutenants in his hunt for the House’s top spot.
Rockstar freshmen, Jennifer Sullivan, who serves Lake County, is one of the youngest elected State Representatives in the nation. Sullivan is viewed as one of Florida Republican’s rising stars. However, on the heels of Harrison’s defection, noted Central Florida political writer Frank Torres observed that Sullivan is said to be looking at a run for State Senate.
Like that, Sprowls just lost another pledge. Sullivan has had a successful first year, and Republicans would be wise to run her for State Senate.
Another pledge for Sprowls is allegedly looking at mounting a campaign to become the top cop in a panhandle area county, and is potentially exploring a Senate bid himself… though those rumors have been far less persistent.
With all of these balls up in the air for Team Sprowls, the math simply does not support an “imminent” victory for his bid.
Aside from everything mentioned above, the vote is likely not going to happen until 2018 at the earliest, and could potentially happen in 2019 or 2020. Furthermore, Sprowls won is off-year election by less than 5 points, meaning his own chances at re-election could be tough.
That is why Chris Sprowls’ bid for Speaker of the Florida House is deader than dead. Deceased, D.O.A….the stench of rigor mortis is already populating his capitol office.
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 email@example.com