Cyndi Stevenson latest House member to withdraw support for Eric Eisnaugle’s Speaker bid

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St. Johns County Republican state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson said Thursday she’s withdrawn her support for Eric Eisnaugle in the 2020-2022 Speaker race, throwing more doubt on Eisnaugle’s chances of one day leading the Florida House.

“I informed Eric Eisnaugle that I was formally withdrawing my support of his 2020 candidacy for Speaker. My initial support was given in confirmation of the choice of a unanimous class that is now fractured and divided,” Stevenson said.

“While I personally believe that the current method by which we select our speakers is flawed, I do believe in the foundational principle that you must have a majority of support from your own class and should only look to other classes to affirm the wise choice of that majority.  As Representative Eisnaugle has lost the majority support of his own class, I now believe it is in the best interest of our Republican caucus, my constituents in North Florida and the State of Florida to withdraw my support and encourage an end to this fractious leadership race so that we may all focus on the work of the people.”

Stevenson joins several other House Republicans who have recently decided to switch their allegiances.

As FloridaPolitics.com reported in December, state Rep. Shawn Harrison shifted his support from Eisnaugle to Pinellas Republican Chris Sprowls.

“As it became clearer that, for whatever reason, Eisnaugle would not have the support of his own class and would need to rely on the 2016 class to secure his Speakership, Harrison said he could no longer support Eisnaugle’s bid,” Peter Schorsch wrote back then.

In April, FP reported about a very dramatic confrontation between Eisnaugle and powerful House Republicans.

During a gathering in a side office near the House floor toward the end of an afternoon session, a band of freshman lawmakers — led by Blaise Ingoglia and including Mike HillDanny BurgessChris Latvala, Chris Sprowls, Jennifer Sullivan, and Jay Trumbull — met with Eisnaugle and one of his lieutenants, Scott Plakon, to express their frustration with the process by which the caucus chooses its future leader.

The confrontation took place after the disaffected members “ambushed” Eisnaugle while he was meeting with Sullivan.

By the end of the meeting, Eisnaugle’s support within the GOP caucus had been halved.

News cycle by news cycle, the open question has become one of how much real support Eisnaugle has left.

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.