Republican candidate, Florida House District 39
Never held elective office, but is chairman of the Orange County Republican Executive Committee since 2018
Attorney, Charles C. Hart Law Office
University of Florida, B.A., Political Science
University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Doctor of Law, 2007
Charles Hart, who has helmed the Orange County Republican Party since 2018, is running for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 23 primary for the open seat in state House District 39. The newly formed district includes parts of Winter Garden, Ocoee, Apopka and southwestern Seminole County.
When he announced his candidacy in mid-May, Hart, a long-time political player in Orange County with a law practice based in Sanford, said he wants “to help write the next chapter of Florida’s success story … by protecting Florida from federal overreach and the dysfunction of Washington, D.C. Florida is a nationwide leader because we have become a laboratory of great ideas and bold reforms — a place that gets things done and is proactive in finding solutions to challenges on the horizon.”
Hart’s campaign website shows photos of himself with Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with a tagline at the top that says: “A DeSantis Republican From Day ONE.” Hart said his general priorities are to support the governor’s “vision to keep Florida free,” give parents the power to choose their children’s education, stand up for the Second Amendment, and “protect the integrity of our elections.”
“Parent’s rights” is likely a reference to a broad right-wing, conservative culture movement aimed at rolling back federal civil rights protections for Black, Brown and LGBTQ students, banning certain types of curricula, and eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, among other items (see also this story and another story about the issue).
He also touted his lawsuit against Orange County over its mask mandate. Two years ago, Hart, Republican state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger sued the county after Mayor Jerry Demings signed an executive order requiring all residents to wear face masks to reduce skyrocketing Covid-19 cases. At the time, Hart told Florida Politics that the order was a “massive government overreach” and violated the right to free speech. In September 2020, a Florida circuit court threw out the lawsuit.
Hart is also adamantly anti-abortion. At a July 12 forum held by the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida attended by himself and his two Republican primary opponents, Doug Bankson and Randy Ross, Hart said, “Abortion is wrong. It should be illegal. Period. Full stop.”
Hart has received the endorsement of several prominent Republicans including outgoing state Senate President Wilton Simpson, state Sen. Joe Gruters, who is also chairman of the Republican Party, U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL-1) and Ronny Jackson (TX-13). In 2019, Hart awarded Gaetz the Orange County Republicans’ “Trump Defender of the Year Award” for crashing, along with 30 other congressional Republicans, the U.S. House impeachment inquiry hearings in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities.
Active on Twitter, Hart often provides short, under-30-second videos, (“Random Thought While Driving”) in which he talks about campaigning, praises Republicans and criticizes President Joe Biden and Democrats. Not long ago, he even provided a fashion tip of sorts while wearing a Ron DeSantis T-shirt: “Some people may say because I’m not wearing a button-down shirt I’m dressed down. But I say anytime you’re wearing a Ron DeSantis T-shirt, you’re dressed up, baby.”