The Florida House of Representatives District 22 seat is likely to remain red as two Gainesville Republicans announced their candidacies and aren’t yet facing Democratic opposition.
Raemi Eagle-Glenn and Robert Woody, who were both appointed to their most recent local leadership roles by Gov. Ron DeSantis, publicly began their campaigns for the seat Feb. 7.
Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, currently holds the seat but is term-limited and cannot seek reelection.
This will be the first campaign for the seat since the state legislature redrew districts that took effect for the 2022 election. The district now encompasses Archer and Newberry, along with western and central Gainesville. It also includes Gilchrist and Levy counties.
Republicans have historically won the House District 22 seat against Democratic candidates. However, even though no Democrat has registered for the race as of Sunday evening, this could change with the redrawn district.
As of Sunday, Eagle-Glenn and Woody are the only two Republican candidates who have filed to run for the seat. If no other candidates run, the race will be determined in the primary election Aug. 20, 2024.
Eagle-Glenn, a 43-year-old Gainesville resident, is a former Alachua County commissioner who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after Mary Alford resigned in May.
Eagle-Glenn was the third Republican to ever serve on the County Commission. She lost her District 1 seat to Alford in the November election.
“My time on the County Commission taught me how to get the most done for the most people,” Eagle-Glenn said.
Eagle-Glenn moved to Gainesville in 2008 to attend the UF Levin College of Law. She is now an attorney at Eagle-Glenn law. The practice is dedicated to protecting civil liberties of American citizens.
As an attorney, Eagle-Glenn has learned to work with people of opposing views or opposing interests, she said.
Eagle-Glenn’s two biggest goals are keeping Florida free and pushing back on the pro-abortion lobby if elected as representative, she said.
She is the Alachua County Republican State Committee woman and a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association.
Eagle-Glenn is encouraged from the support she has from local Republicans, she said.
“I had a lot of people telling me that they see me as their person who they want in Tallahassee,” Eagle-Glenn said. “I'm very encouraged by the support I have from the community.”
She wants to ensure people can continue to have free speech and aren’t mandated to wear masks in local government buildings, she said. To Eagle-Glenn, this was “a new form of segregation.”
Eagle-Glenn plans to run her campaign for the seat by going into the District 22 counties to learn how she can represent the district’s citizens, she said. She recently attended the grand opening of R & J Fuel Stop in Gilchrist County to begin meeting citizens and local leaders, she said.
“The people in Gilchrist County and Levy County don't know me as well because I live in Alachua County,” Eagle-Glenn said. “I'm going out to these types of small business openings and also the city council meetings and the county commission meetings to meet the people.”
Woody, a 70-year-old Gainesville resident, has worked in Alachua County as a law enforcement officer for several decades.
Woody served as the director of the Alachua County Jail, the director of community relations for the Gainesville Police Department and the deputy secretary for Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice.
He currently serves as the vice chairman of the Santa Fe College District Board of Trustees after DeSantis re-appointed him in 2021. His work on the board included creating the SFC Minority Scholarship Fund.
Woody plans to draw from his experience working as law enforcement in the Alachua County community if elected as representative, he said.
“I was raised to help the community and do my part to make the community a lot better and work with all types of different races, and make America like America should be,” Woody said.
Woody has been an Alachua County resident for over 50 years and worked with the community outside of law enforcement. He was chairman of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. He plans to apply his experience in Alachua County to all counties within the district, he said.
“Those [rural] communities are no different from the inner city of Gainesville, where you have issues concerning education, job creation, reducing crime and dealing with the environmental issues,” Woody said.
The citizens who live in urban and rural areas have the same needs and all deserve the same quality of life, he said.
Woody plans to go into the community and talk to as many as potential voters about his experience and knowledge that could improve the citizens’ quality of life, he said.
“I'm in the process of meeting with folks that live in that district and finding out what their needs are,” Woody said. “It's going to be a partnership.”
CORRECTION: This article has been updated to reflect Republicans have historically won the House District 22 seat against Democratic candidates. The Alligator originally reported otherwise.
Contact Claire at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @grunewaldclaire.
Claire Grunewald is a fourth-year journalism major and the Fall 2023 engagement managing editor. In the past, she reported for the university and metro desks. When she isn't working at The Alligator, she is reviewing books on Goodreads and going to concerts.