Leon Schools Chair endorses Loranne Ausley, bashes Corey Simon on education
Corey Simon notches up another career win.

Ausley simon
With four weeks to go, the Democrat’s re-election campaign is touting support from educators.

Sen. Loranne Ausley has released her third radio ad of the week, this one an endorsement from Leon County School Board Chair Darryl Jones.

In a 30-second ad, the third in three days from the Democratic Senator’s re-election campaign, Jones calls Ausley a friend and a champion for children. He implores voters to support her for another term as she hopes to fend off Republican challenger Corey Simon in Senate District 3.

“All of her legislative career, Loranne Ausley has fought to ensure that our children have high-quality child care,” Jones says in the ad.

“Loranne Ausley has also fought for access to resources that our children need, and Loranne Ausley fights for a public school system that puts our children on a path to success. For years, Loranne and I have worked side-by-side advocating for children, and I have seen firsthand the tireless work that she puts in and I know that it comes directly from her heart. Loranne has been there for us and she has been there for our children.”

Ausley is one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats seeking re-election and holding her North Florida seat has become a statewide effort for Senate Victory, the caucus’ campaign arm. With less than four weeks until Election Day, Republicans are only one seat shy of a three-fifths majority, the threshold needed to advance proposed constitutional amendments, among other measures.

Simon is a former Florida State University (FSU) and National Football League football player and former CEO of Volunteer Florida who is in his first campaign for office. Many of his campaign efforts have featured or mentioned his tenure at FSU when he was an All-American during the school’s championship season in 1999.

Along with the advertisement, the Ausley campaign released a statement from Jones in which he calls Simon an extremist — a common refrain for Democrats’ attacks against Simon. In the statement, Jones hits Simon for playing up his Seminole football connections.

“When it comes to helping North Florida children and families, Corey Simon is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Jones argued.

“Corey and the Republican Party would like for us to focus on his history playing football and his involvement with Pop Warner, but voters in our community must not be fooled: Corey Simon is not just a Republican, he is running as a ‘Ron DeSantis Republican,’ aligned with extremist GOP policies that hurt North Florida children and working families. That’s the team he’s playing for.”

Jones, a Democrat who is also running for re-election, hit Simon on his support for school choice and linked him to Republicans who support open carry on school campuses and limiting topics around race in classrooms.

“When it comes to making sure the kids in our community have fully funded public schools — safe schools, schools where teachers are well-paid, where freedom of speech isn’t limited in the classroom — the choice for North Florida is clear,” Ausley’s Campaign Manager, Nick Paul, said in a statement.

“Loranne Ausley has the support of educators and those who care about the children and working families in North Florida.”

Jones also criticized Simon for declining to say President Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020 during a debate last week. Democrats have increasingly jumped at the answer, which Simon tied to public distrust in the national media.

Meanwhile, Republicans and some Tallahassee community leaders have criticized Democrats for a mailer that spurred controversy for depicting Simon, a Black man, and children on shooting targets.

The Ausley campaign has released a flurry of radio ads this week, as Election Day nears. In the two days prior, her campaign has released ads featuring endorsements from Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil and retired Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors.

Simon is endorsed by DeSantis and members of Florida Senate leadership, including President Wilton Simpson and President-designate Kathleen Passidomo.

Ausley served in the House from 2000 to 2008 and from 2016 to 2020 and was elected to the Senate in 2020. Both live in Tallahassee.

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

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.


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