Wilton Simpson hopes to turn Cabinet fully red in Ag Commish race vs. Naomi Blemur
Naomi Blemur, Wilton Simpson.

Blemur Simpson
The Miami Herald has declined to endorse in the race, finding no good candidate, but endorsements won’t matter here.

Senate President Wilton Simpson is looking for a promotion and will likely get one Tuesday in his race for Agriculture Commissioner against Democrat Naomi Blemur.

Simpson, who cruised his way through the Republican Primary and is sitting on millions, is facing a bruised Blemur. She decisively won her Primary, but not without bleeding support from prominent South Florida Democrats over her social media history.

Simpson is moving on from the Senate after being term-limited there. The egg farmer and businessman served west Central Florida in the Senate for 10 years, including as Senate President for the last two.

As Senate President, he has coordinated much of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislative achievements and helped oversee Florida’s record budget surplus. Now, he hopes to translate that into a career alongside the Governor on the Cabinet, flipping the position currently held by Democrat Nikki Fried.

There was speculation early in the Republican Primary that DeSantis would back a challenger against Simpson, who was endorsed for the seat by former President Donald Trump before even confirming his intention to run. DeSantis ultimately endorsed Simpson, but the political tug-of-war over Simpson continues up to Election Day as the Governor and former President host competing rallies across the state.

Blemur is the first Haitian American woman to be a nominee for the Cabinet. She is also a pastor and businesswoman based out of North Miami.

Three candidates tussled over the Democratic nomination for Agriculture Commissioner after Fried’s decision to run for Governor — unsuccessfully.

Blemur lost support from leading South Florida Democrats in August after screenshots of her past anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ social media comments emerged. Some, like Fried, are still supporting her campaign now that she’s the party’s nominee, but her fundraising has been outmatched by Simpson’s hauls by around 1,000 to 1.

Her husband, Anis Blemur, is a former Florida Senate candidate who is currently serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison on fraud charges. The online publication the West Orlando News has also accused the candidate of fraudulently falsifying financial documents.

While Democrats have lamented that their choices for Agriculture Commissioner this year were lackluster, the Miami Herald has gone even further. The editorial board declined to endorse between Blemur and Simpson, calling Blemur an unprepared candidate and Simpson one who refuses to answer questions about his record.

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner oversees the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. That agency oversees the state’s agriculture, fishing and forestry, as well as other sectors like firearm licensing.

Fried has only served as Agriculture Commissioner for four years, but opted to run for Governor instead of standing for re-election. She lost the Democratic Primary to former Governor and Congressman Charlie Crist.

When Fried won the office in 2018 by less than one-tenth of a percentage point, she became the first Democrat to win a statewide race in Florida since 2012. If Simpson flips the seat, it will mean Republicans will have full control of the Cabinet, likely eliminating any internal dissenting voice against the state board’s actions.

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.

One comment

  • marylou

    November 7, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Wilton Simpson wanted funding for Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives for poor women and teens in the budget.

    After the Catholic bishops told Ron deSanctimonious that birth control causes abortion of a fertilized egg, Ron cruelly vetoed the funding ——knowing that many of the women would become pregnant. SADISTIC.

    Then deSanctimonious signed a law that bans abortion without exceptions for rape and incest—- even for little girls. Desantis is punishing women. And, he is enjoying it.


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