Wilton Simpson wins Republican primary for Florida agriculture commissioner


ORLANDO, Florida. —Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson won the Republican primary for Florida agriculture commissioner on Tuesday, beating James Shaw.

Simpson was backed by former President Donald Trump, Republican leaders and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

After his victory, Simpson released a statement, saying he is grateful.

“Tonight’s victory marks the start of an important conversation with Floridians from Panhandle to the Keys, from Jacksonville to Fort Myers and from Palm Beach to Gainesville, and everywhere in between. I am grateful to the growing coalition of families who hard-working, resilient business owners, trusted law enforcement officers and, of course, dedicated Sunshine State farmers who put their faith in me and our shared vision for the future of the Florida.

“Over the next 77 days, we will build on this momentum to draw a clear contrast between the common-sense conservatism that has made the Free State of Florida a model for the nation, and our adversary’s allegiance to the political failed socialists from the Washington Democrats who are jeopardizing access to the American dream for all Floridians.While our opponent is a voice for Joe Biden and the liberal zoom class who have overcome the pandemic by working from home in their pajamas, I am honored to be a voice for the blue-collar working men and women of this state who have never taken a day off during the pandemic and who are doing their best to get by in the face of high gas prices and d record inflation that many of us have not seen in our lifetime.

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“As we look to the future of our great state, I am confident that we can ensure a safe, abundant and affordable food supply AND responsibly conserve our precious natural resources for future generations. We can fiercely protect consumers AND protect small businesses from the heavy government red tape that kills jobs, stifles entrepreneurship and increases costs for everyone We can welcome new commerce and innovation, while respecting the heritage of family businesses who have been the backbone of our state for generations. We can do all of these things and more, but we must continue to respect the dignity of labor and trust in the extraordinary ingenuity of Floridians across the state.

Simpson will now face the winner of the Democratic race between Naomi Blemur, Ryan Morales and JR Gaillot.

With Nikki Fried running for governor of Florida, the seat of Florida’s commissioner of agriculture is open to a new occupant.

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On the Republican side, two candidates are vying for the seat – James Shaw and Wilton Simpson.

[RELATED ELECTION STORIES: Trying to decide what Florida candidate to vote for? These guides may help | VOTER GUIDE: What you need to know for the 2022 Florida Primary]

Shaw is a compost farmer and real estate investor who has won support from far-right conservatives in the state.

Wilton Simpson is the Florida Senate Speaker and egg farmer who has won support from former President Donald Trump, Republican leaders and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Commissioner of Agriculture is not limited to farms. As head of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the commissioner oversees a department as varied as citrus crops, medical marijuana, school lunch programs, price gouging complaints, inspection of gas pumps, gun permits and theme park inspection.

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Florida being a closed primary state, only Republicans can vote in this primary. There will also be a primary for the Democrats, and you can see those candidates HERE. Learn more about what this means for the rest of the August 23 election. HERE.

The winner of this primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the general election in November, open to all voters.

Here’s a rundown of the Republican candidates for Florida’s commissioner of agriculture.

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James W. Shaw(R)


87.7% of constituencies report

(5,016 / 5,717)

James Shaw

Website | Facebook

James Shaw stands for three things, according to his website:

“Good food, good water, good guns.”

Shaw managed trucking facilities in Tennessee and Pennsylvania before becoming a compost farmer in Florida. He is also a real estate investor.

He considers food availability and fuel availability to be the most important needs right now, and environmental protection is one of them. He thinks the state should “let the farmers cultivate.”

wilton simpson

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Wilton Simpson of Trilby runs a large-scale egg farm. Chances are the eggs in your fridge are from his farm.

Simpson has shown his conservative bona fides in the Florida Legislature, first in the Florida Senate, where he was first elected in 2012, and then as President of the Senate.

Simpson supported the controversial net metering bill in the Florida Senate last year, which would have limited the growth of solar power in the state. The bill was supported by Florida Power and Light. Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed this bill. DeSantis also vetoed an Everglades restoration bill that Simpson supported and which critics said was beneficial to the sugar industry. Simpson had sponsored the bill.

Still, Simpson has the endorsement of DeSantis, as well as the endorsements of the rest of Florida’s cabinet and many of the state’s leading conservative support groups.

James W. Shaw(R)


87.7% of constituencies report

(5,016 / 5,717)

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