59 Sheriffs endorse Wilton Simpson for State Commissioner of Agriculture

Anne GeggisMarch 21, 20229min
The outgoing Senate President has millions in his campaign coffers to fuel his campaign for Agriculture Commissioner, dwarfing his opponents' war chests.

Fifty-nine of the state’s sheriffs — all but eight of them — are endorsing Senate President Wilton Simpson’s campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the campaign announced Monday.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association has also endorsed Simpson’s campaign, according to a news release from the Simpson campaign.

Simpson is running to succeed Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is leaving the position aiming to become Florida’s next Governor.

The campaign attributed the sheriffs’ united front for Simpson’s campaign to his support for law enforcement.

“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, according to a news release.

The news release highlighted endorsements of sheriffs from Pasco and Polk counties.

“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.” 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd credited Simpson’s leadership with bringing Florida’s crime rate to a 50-year low

“Wilton is a PROVEN LEADER who cares about your safety and wellbeing,” Judd’s written comments read. “He has always supported law enforcement and that is exactly why I support Wilton.”

Simpson, a Trilby Republican, is the heavy favorite to win his party’s nomination for the post and face Democratic candidate Ryan Morales, a Clermont cannabis activist. Simpson has millions on hand for his campaign, compared to Morales and Republican candidates Richard Ollie Jr. and James Shaw, who have done negligible fundraising.

The majority of sheriffs not endorsing Simpson come largely from counties that are larger and traditionally more Democratic counties. Sheriffs from Alachua, Broward, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach and St. Lucie were not on the list of endorsers.

In addition to Grady and Judd, Sheriffs endorsing Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner are:

— Baker County Sheriff Scotty Rhoden,

— Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford,

— Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith,

— Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey,

— Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel,

— Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell,

— Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast,

— Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook,

— Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk,

— Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter,

— DeSoto County Sheriff James Potter,

— Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler,

— Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams,

— Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons,

— Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly,

— Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith,

— Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young,

— Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz,

— Glades County Sheriff David Hardin,

— Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrison,

— Hamilton County Sheriff Harrell Reid,

— Hardee County Sheriff Vent Crawford,

— Hendry County Sheriff Stephen Whidden,

— Hernando County Sheriff Al Neinhuis,

— Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman,

— Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister,

— Holmes County Sheriff John Tate,

— Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers,

— Jackson County Sheriff Donald Edenfield,

— Jefferson County Sheriff Mac McNeil,

— Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb,

— Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell,

— Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno,

— Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum,

— Liberty County Sheriff Buddy Money,

— Madison County Sheriff David Harper,

— Manatee County Sheriff Charles Wells,

— Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods,

— Martin County Sheriff William Snyder,

— Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay,

— Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper,

— Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden,

— Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen,

— Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri,

— Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach,

— Santa Rosa County Sheriff Robert Johnson,

— Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman,

— Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma,

— St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick

— Sumter County Sheriff Bill Farmer,

— Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John,

— Taylor County Sheriff Wayne Padgett,

— Union County Sheriff Brad Whitehead,

— Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood

— Wakula County Sheriff Jared Miller,

— Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson and

— Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews.

President Donald Trump, the Florida Farm Bureau FarmPAC and The Associated Industries of Florida have also announced endorsements for Simpson’s campaign, according to a news release.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Impeach Biden

    March 21, 2022 at 6:33 am

    This is great to see. The end of the Nikki Fried reign is coming to an end. Bye, bye.

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