Wilton Simpson, not Chuck Nadd, nabs Ron DeSantis’s backing for Agriculture Commissioner
Wilton Simpson tells Ron DeSantis the Senate will take a cautious approach to the next budget. Image via Colin Hackley.

He also endorsed Jimmy Patronis for re-election as CFO.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is backing Senate President Wilton Simpson’s bid to be the next Agriculture Commissioner.

The top Republican on the state ticket announced his endorsement at the same time he relayed his support of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ re-election. He has already endorsed Attorney General Ashley Moody for a second term.

“In addition to Ashley Moody, for Cabinet positions I am supporting Jimmy Patronis for re-election as CFO due to his strong stance on fiscal and economic issues,” DeSantis said in a statement. “And for Commissioner of Agriculture, I am supporting Wilton Simpson, who has helped pass major reform for election integrity, choice in education, Big Tech censorship and law enforcement recruitment.”

Simpson happily touted the support.

“Our great Governor has led our state through these unprecedented times with a focus on our hardworking families and businesses,” Simpson said. “Together, we helped keep Florida free and prosperous, and I am honored to have his support.”

The support for Simpson ends months of questions stemming from the Governor’s reluctance to offer an endorsement to the Senate leader. During this year’s regular Legislative Session, the greatest points of tension between DeSantis and the Legislature often caught Simpson in the middle. The biggest criticism came over a water bill that sought more resources north of Lake Okeechobee. DeSantis at one point accused the Senate of leaving his administration “in the dark” on legislation and suggested it could derail progress on a reservoir south of the lake and efforts to limit water discharges.

Additionally, DeSantis came out strong against maps produced by the Legislature. Simpson had pushed to take a legally conservative approach, with maps designed to avoid protracted litigation. DeSantis, however, wanted a map that would challenge provisions of Florida’s Constitution involving racially motivated cartography the Governor believes defies the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

The Legislature in a Special Session ultimately approved a map produced by DeSantis’ Office. The Governor signed the legislation Friday.

The disagreements for months fueled speculation DeSantis may actually endorse Winter Park Republican Chuck Nadd, who filed in the GOP primary for Agriculture Commissioner earlier this month. Nadd had heavily pushed for the Legislature to take up the maps and has criticized Simpson for special interest ties.

But DeSantis made it known he’d like Simpson on the ticket come November, when the Governor’s race and all other Cabinet posts will be on the ballot.

There was less surprise regarding the Patronis endorsement. Patronis was originally appointed to his post by former Gov. Rick Scott. He campaigned and won his first full term in 2018, traveling the state with DeSantis and Moody during that cycle.

Democrat Nikki Fried won that year’s Agriculture Commissioner race, making that the only statewide office not held by a Republican. Fried this year is running for Governor against DeSantis, making the Agriculture Commission contest an open one.

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].


  • Ken Willey

    April 25, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    Just days after Nikki Fried announced a lawsuit over the federal rule banning gun ownership for medical marijuana patients, Ron DeSantis endorses the author of the largest gun control bill in Florida history.

    Don’t come to me looking for support after endorsing Wilton Simpson. This is just more proof that Ron D. DeSantis’ talk about wanting 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕥𝕦𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕔𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕪 has just been lip service.

  • tom palmer

    April 25, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    You mean DeSantis is supporting that RINO who supported the idea that kids shouldn’t be able to buy shotguns? The very idea!

  • Min Byong Chang

    April 25, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Is he supporting or endorsing? It seems to me that words have meaning.

    • Tom Palmer

      April 27, 2022 at 2:07 pm

      Well. Nadd dropped out. QED

Comments are closed.


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