Sheriffs Endorse Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner

A total of 59 county sheriffs have endorsed Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) for agriculture commissioner. Simpson, an egg farmer, has a number of notable endorsements so far in his young campaign.

Simpson’s list of endorsements includes: The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), the National Rifle Association’s Unified Sportsmen of Florida (NRA-USF), the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida (Florida Builders), Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), and Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor).

The sheriffs that endorsed Simpson have stood with Republican leadership, notably Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Florida’s Republicans have fought back against the Defund the Police movement.

“As others have tried to defund the police, I fought to ensure Floridians in uniform have the support and resources they need to do their jobs,” Simpson said.

“The women and men in law enforcement start each shift with a mission: to work side by side with members of their community to keep it safe and to make it home to their families,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “Wilton Simpson has firmly stood with law enforcement in this mission and understands that protecting our communities and our future will allow Florida to continue to prosper.”

Simpson’s most famous endorsement is that of former President Donald J. Trump.

“Wilton Simpson has done an outstanding job as President of the Florida State Senate, and I hope he runs for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022 – he will have my Complete and Total endorsement!” Trump said. “Wilton has been a great supporter and worked hard to get many good Conservatives elected in Florida. He helped us grow our Republican majority in the Florida State Senate, and gave us a historic win in the 2020 Presidential election.”

Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past president of the National Rifle Association, expressed her support for Simpson since the Florida Department of Agriculture oversees Florida’s concealed weapons licensing program.

“The Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner has the duty to oversee and administer the statutory laws that govern the concealed weapon and firearms licensing process,” Hammer said. “We believe it is vital to have a Commissioner who understands the importance of running this Cabinet office with integrity, honor, and who will not politicize our constitutional rights.”

Current Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried famously revoked the concealed weapons permits for 22 Floridians who were involved in the January 6 U.S. Capitol breach. Even notable conservatives called Fried’s actions as “stupid, but legal.”

Simpson will be fighting off two other Republicans, James Shaw and Richard Ollie Jr. Shaw has not received a donation since March 2021, and Ollie has not received a single dollar, according to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections database.

Simpson’s likely Democrat opponent is Ryan Morales, a cannabis activist, who has raised just over $3,000.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Wilton Simpson” by Wilton Simpson. Background Photo “Florida State Capitol and Florida House Office” by Michael Rivera. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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