Leading Republicans praised a Central Florida House member who formally announced Tuesday that he was at least temporarily ending his legislative career — rather than challenge a fellow GOP lawmaker in a redrawn House district.
Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who is in his second term representing parts of Orlando, revealed his decision in a Tuesday Op-Ed in the Orlando Sentinel. Eisnaugle said he wouldn’t duel with “my friend and fellow conservative,” Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, for the House District 44 seat they both share in the new, redistricted House map.
Precourt is a close ally of incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. But Eisnaugle’s decision to take one for the team also helped underscore the position of House and Senate Republican leaders that legislative and congressional maps were not drawn to help incumbents, a view apparently now shared by courts and federal officials, who have given the plans the go-ahead.
Florida Republican Chairman Lenny Curry said Eisnaugle’s “decision to put his family and his personal commitments above himself is commendable.”
Weatherford also held out the possibility that Eisnaugle’s decision to step aside — for now — may help his political future.
“ He is a true rising star,” Weatherford said of Eisnaugle. “I believe he will continue to earnestly serve his community, not as an elected official, but as a neighbor and a friend. That’s the kind of leadership that earns the trust of voters; it’s why I believe he will be back in the Florida Legislature one day.”