Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis back Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 9/21/21-Attorney General Ashley Moody, left, speaks during ringing of the bell ceremony to honor 18 fallen firefighters whose names were added to the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial with Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The two Cabinet members know which Republican they want at the dais.

Two Republicans members of Florida’s Cabinet made clear who they want joining them on the 2022 ticket. Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have endorsed Senate President Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner.

“As a successful businessman, Wilton Simpson knows that public safety is the foundation of a thriving economy,” Moody said. “Throughout his time in the Senate, Wilton has always helped give our men and women in law enforcement the resources and tools they need to keep our state safe. We need leaders who wholeheartedly believe in the rule of law on the Florida Cabinet and I am proud to endorse him to be our next Agriculture Commissioner.”

Simpson has helped usher a number of Moody priorities to law, including an anti-riot bill that was among the main Republican efforts during his first year as Senate President. While the two have occasionally found themselves at odds over policy such as a casino referendum, they for the most part align, especially on matters of law enforcement support.

“Without fail, Ashley Moody has put Floridians’ safety, the rule of law and our brave law enforcement officers first, and I am honored to have her support,” Simpson said. “I am proud of the work we have done together to keep our communities safe so that Floridians are free to pursue their American Dream.”

Patronis, meanwhile, focused on fiscal policy in his endorsement.

“As a farmer, a father and a businessman, Wilton Simpson is passionately invested in Florida’s future. He is a leader in the conservative revolution and he is delivering for hardworking families and small business owners,” Patronis said. “As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I see the impact Wilton’s fiscal responsibility and conservative priorities have had on our state’s AAA credit rating, our balanced budget, and low unemployment rate. I’m proud to stand with Wilton in his campaign for Florida Agriculture Commissioner because I know he will keep fighting to protect the American Dream.”

This year, Patronis and Simpson worked together on a number of disaster preparedness measures as well as support for firefighters’ and other responders’ benefits.

“I am grateful to CFO Patronis for his continued leadership and support,” Simpson said. “Jimmy has worked hard to advocate for Florida’s first responders and affectively keep watch over Florida’s checkbook and it is an honor to have his endorsement.”

The Agriculture Commissioner position is the only statewide office held by a Democrat, Nikki Fried. But it is an open office this year with Fried running for Governor.

Patronis and Moody are also both up for re-election this year. They and Simpson have the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Simpson to date faces Republicans Richard Olle and James Shaw in a GOP Primary and Democrat Ryan Morales in a potential General Election. But Simson remains the most prominent candidate in the race by far. Military candidate Chuck Nadd is rumored to be mulling a bid.

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].


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