NRA endorses Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner

Simpson, Wilton - 5
The Senate President said he blocked 14 gun control bills just this year.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) will marshal its forces for Republican Agriculture Commissioner candidate Wilton Simpson. The group announced an endorsements Monday for the sitting Senate President in his first statewide campaign.

“A lot of people talk about defending the Second Amendment, but Wilton Simpson has actually defended our right to bear arms,” said Marion Hammer, NRA past president and Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director.

Simpson landed the endorsement of both organizations.

Hammer said Simpson’s record makes him the best candidate for gun rights supporters.

“The Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner has the duty to oversee and administer the statutory laws that govern the concealed weapon and firearm licensing process,” she 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.”

For the last several years, the NRA has had a fractious relationship with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat holding statewide office in Florida and now a candidate for Governor. Fried drew fire from gun groups for suspending concealed carry permits for Floridians arrested after participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Fried also faced criticism after she suspended accepting online applications for concealed-carry licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, Simpson has remained in good standing with many gun rights organizations. He said he would support constitutional carry legislation, though no Senate bill was filed in companion to a House bill.

Simpson has largely remained in lockstep with gun rights groups, and said in his role as Senate President he did not allow a vote on measures that would infringe on the Second Amendment.

“Our right to bear arms is foundational to who we are as a nation and as a free people,” said Simpson. “This year, 14 gun control bills were filed in the Florida Senate and I made sure each of them never saw the light of day. It’s easy for some folks to talk about defending the Second Amendment, but I’ve actually done the work.”

The NRA wields tremendous political influence among Florida Republicans, and the endorsement could well insulate Simpson from a Primary challenge as he runs for the open office.

That could be important as Simpson leaves Session following some tension with Gov. Ron DeSantis over redistricting. The matter of redrawing Florida’s congressional lines remains unresolved even after the close of Session.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


14 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    March 23, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Nikki Fried is a cancer in the state of Florida. That cancer will be removed shortly.

    • Work for The other side

      March 23, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      She can become a democrat advisor

      I love to get a look inside the enemy’s head

  • Niki is a socialist

    March 23, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Niki fried is owned by soros and mentally unstable

  • tom palmer

    March 23, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    Another surprising news story in Florida Politics. Who knew the NRA would support a conservative Republican?

    • Rich7553

      March 24, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      So much for Marion Hammer’s hollow threats to supporters of the Parkland bill in 2018.

      • David Wallis

        March 25, 2022 at 8:10 am

        Exactly, how the heck can anyone who stole the 2A rights from thousands of Floridian adults in 2018 by voting in favor or the stoneman douglas act in 2018 be considered a defender of the 2A. SHAME on the NRA for stabbing in the back those Floridians who had their rights stolen by endorsing the man responsible for ensuring it passed.

  • Bob

    March 23, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    How is it that the NRA is endorsing the most anti-gun Republican possible?

    Wilton Simpson literally wrote the Parkland Gun Control Bill. It is because of Simpson that anyone under 21 can’t legally purchase a firearm in FL. The NRA was literally suing the state about the Under 21 Purchase Ban.

    And now they endorsed the very guy that wrote the law that they sued the state over.

    • tom palmer

      March 23, 2022 at 8:17 pm

      Yeah, why can’t teenagers have machine guns. Too many job-killing regulations out there to rein in idiots and wannabes.

      • Rich7553

        March 24, 2022 at 2:44 pm

        What machine guns?

  • Bob

    March 23, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    Marion Hammer of the NRA called Senator Wilton Simpson a “betrayer” for supporting massive gun control in 2018:

    “[Wilton Simpson, and those who voted for SB 7026] lacked the courage to uphold their oath of office and keep their word to constituents who voted for them. They were in total control. They no longer deserve your trust.

    When they ask for your support, when they ask you to volunteer in their campaigns, when they ask for your donations, when they ask for your votes, think long and hard about what they had done…..]

    – Marion Hammer NRA / USF Memo – April 18, 2018

    https://www.nraila.org/articles/20180421/florida-alert-it-s-time-to-name-the-betrayers-who-voted-for-gun-control

  • Ken Willey

    March 23, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    The NRA has officially jumped the shark. Wilton Simpson ran for reelection on being the author of the Parkland gun control bill. He might have said he supports constitutional carry in public, but word at the beginning of the session was that he told Republican senators to not introduce a constitutional carry bill, or else. I don’t expect him to be any better on gun rights than Nikki Fried.

  • just sayin

    March 24, 2022 at 8:02 am

    People bemoaning the NRA for this should consider what other choice do they have? It’s like voting for Trump vs. Biden. Anyone who says they were enthusiastic about voting for either one is a lunatic.

  • tom palmer

    March 24, 2022 at 11:38 am

    Yeah, and I guess NRA has to keep its name out there amid all of the allegations or the corrupt practices that have occurred among their national leaders and how the honest local members have been enticed for years to pay for it because they have been misled.
    .

  • Mike Lameyer

    March 27, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    This ass clown Senate President Wilton Simpson blocked Constitutional Carry. All the stupid rules only hinder the good people of Florida. The bad guys buy guns on the street every day.

Comments are closed.


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