A well-respected Tallahassee physician is endorsing Sen. Loranne Ausley for re-election, backing her for a record of ensuring care for North Florida’s children and communities.
The endorsement from Dr. A.J. Brickler is the latest in a stream of community endorsements the Democrat from Tallahassee has trickled out in recent weeks. She is locked in a tight campaign against former Florida State University football star Corey Simon, a Republican endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Since completing his medical training in 1986, Brickler has served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and as Chief of Medical Staff at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. He is also a member of the clinical faculty of the FSU College of Medicine.
Brickler’s father, Dr. A.D. Brickler, was also a prominent physician, and the pair served alongside each other at TMH.
“My family and I have had the honor to serve the North Florida community for decades to help ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community,” the younger Brickler said in a statement. “But I know from experience that more must be done to provide high-quality care to everyone, especially in our rural communities and communities of color.”
He noted Ausley’s successful effort to expand KidCare and her creation of Whole Child Leon.
“While her opponent’s party refuses to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands in our state, North Floridians can be sure Senator Ausley will continue to set aside party politics for the betterment of us,” Brickler said. “I am proud to support Loranne, because she supports the health of our community.”
As part of her re-election campaign, Ausley has highlighted her attention to women’s rights, affordable health care and child care. She also mentions her role as a working mom and caregiver to her son, who has special needs.
Ausley said she was honored to receive the nod from Brickler.
“As a lifelong North Floridian, beloved physician, and faculty at the Florida State University College of Medicine, his support means a great deal,” Ausley said. “I will continue to fight for every Floridian to be able to receive the care they need, especially in our rural and underserved communities.”
Simon’s candidacy and new favorable district lines for Republicans have made Senate District 3 highly competitive. With the race now at the two-week mark, some analysts, like Democratic consultant Matt Isbell, predict Simon will unseat Ausley.
In defense of Ausley’s seat and support of critical fellow candidates, top Senate Democrats will launch a bus tour of the state on Wednesday, beginning with North Florida. The bus plans to hit the expanse of SD 3, including rural parts of the state.
With the district’s expansion into a total of 13 counties, geographically the largest in the state, it grew from a seat that voted for President Joe Biden by 9 percentage points in 2020 into one he would have carried by only 3 points. That, plus Ausley’s underperformance as compared to Biden that cycle and the recent reversal of Democrats’ fortunes in the polls, puts Ausley’s seat on the line.
SD 3 covers Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties.
Simon was an All-American during FSU’s championship season in 1999. He also played in the National Football League and has since been a community volunteer and CEO of Volunteer Florida.
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.