By the News Service of Florida
With the backing of Senate Republican leaders, former Florida State University and NFL football player Corey Simon will try to unseat Sen. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, in November.
Simon, who was appointed in 2020 as CEO of Volunteer Florida, filed paperwork Monday to run in Senate District 3. His candidacy likely will make the race one of the most closely watched legislative contests this year.
Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, incoming President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and Sen. Ben Albritton, a Wauchula Republican expected to become president in 2024, endorsed Simon, which signals he will have heavy financial support.
“Leaders are born on the field, in the arena,” Albritton said in a prepared statement. “No one has ever had to tell Corey Simon to pitch in. He has stood up, showed up and worked his tail off to ensure those most in need have the backup they deserve.”
Simon was an All-American defensive tackle at Florida State before playing eight years in the NFL.
Ausley, a former House member, was elected to the Senate in 2020 in a costly race against Republican Marva Preston. Ausley received 53.4 percent of the vote, while Preston received 46.6 percent. Ausley had about $243,000 in cash on hand in her campaign account as of May 31, according to a newly filed finance report. She also has received in-kind assistance from the Florida Democratic Party, which has covered costs of campaign staff.
Due to recent redistricting, Senate District 3 has become more “Republican friendly.”