Leon County Sheriff endorses Loranne Ausley’s re-election bid in SD 3
Loranne Ausley. Image via Colin Hackley

‘I don’t usually endorse candidates, but this election is too important for any of us to sit on the sidelines.’

In a new radio ad, Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil calls Sen. Loranne Ausley a strong champion for law enforcement as he endorses her for re-election.

McNeil says Ausley is the right choice for North Florida and Senate District 3 in the 30-second ad highlighting the fellow Democrat’s achievements on law enforcement and public safety.

Ausley — who is perhaps the most vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbent — hopes to defend her seat from Republican Corey Simon, a former Florida State University football star.

“I don’t usually endorse candidates, but this election is too important for any of us to sit on the sidelines,” McNeil says. “Loranne Ausley deserves our support because Loranne makes a difference. Loranne brought home needed dollars to help sheriffs across the Big Bend, hire more law enforcement officers to keep our communities safe.”

While McNeil claims he doesn’t usually endorse candidates, Ausley isn’t the only candidate he has endorsed this cycle. He is also endorsing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and crossed the aisle to join 63 other Florida Sheriffs in endorsing Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Ausley, of Tallahassee, served in the House from 2000 to 2008 and 2016 to 2020 and was elected to the Senate in 2020. Her campaign touts “proven track record” on supporting law enforcement and securing millions for public safety in North Florida.

“Loranne Ausley is a consensus-builder in the Florida Senate and a long-time champion for state workers, making sure our local law enforcement officers have what they need to keep our community safe,” said Nick Paul, the campaign’s manager.

“Our community can count on Loranne to get the job done because she’s already proven her ability to fight and bring back millions of dollars in funding to keep North Florida families safe.”

Simon is a former Florida State University and National Football League football player and former CEO of Volunteer Florida who is in his first campaign for office. Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed him.

SD 3 is a pivotal race for the Florida Legislature. Republicans only need to gain one seat to obtain a three-fifths majority in the Senate, the threshold needed to advance proposed constitutional amendments, among other measures.

The race is not without controversy. Ausley and party officials have come under fire for a mailer from Senate Democrats that hits Simon on gun control. The ad places pictures of both children and Simon — a Black man — on shooting targets, a move deemed insensitive and possibly racist by some.

And during the pair’s first debate last week, Simon refused to say President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. In comments to Florida Politics, he blamed distrust in the 2020 election on the national media.

Ausley and Simon could square off a second time at a candidate forum, which was previously canceled because of Hurricane Ian.

SD 3 covers Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn