EXCLUSIVE: Corey Simon Celebrates Historic Victory, First Black Republican Since Reconstruction in State Senate

November 10, 2022 Updated 4:44 PM ET

Simon Ausley

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Corey Simon became the first black Republican elected to the Florida Senate since Reconstruction and the first Republican to hold Senate District 3 in more than a century.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Simon said. “I think the folks, even in counties that didn’t go for me, I think they will start to see the impact of having a seat at the table and I’m looking forward to putting District 3 on the menu at that table. I think they will start to see the difference in actually having a voice that can get some things done and I’m excited to get after it.”

Simon spoke with Florida’s Voice about his historic win after facing off against Democrat state Sen. Loranne Ausley.

“I’m just excited for the opportunity to serve these folks. And all the historic stuff that’s centered around me or my race, I really don’t take a lot of thought in it. What it does do, for those young black men and young black women that have that more conservative view point, you know, it shows them that it’s possible,” Simon said.

“And so from a barrier-breaking standpoint, I’m excited to do that for them. It’s really not about me, it’s about the folks that are coming behind me and making sure that we’re able to have voices in every room and be okay with it.”

The race against Ausley became heated after Democrats paid for a campaign mailer depicting Simon on a shooting target. The other side of the ad showed pictures of school children and a teacher in front of shooting targets with bullet holes. Simon was asked if he thought that ad was a turn off to voters.

“I think it really was, I do think that that was a turn off. I mean, you put kids on targets and never mind me, I’m the least important part of that issue. It was more focusing on kids and families. I think it was just a bridge too far for a lot of people,” Simon said. “Anybody that’s done any kind of research in who I am and where I’ve always put my focus on and that’s been young people, knew that that was just absurd and you know, I think a lot of the Democrats paid the price for it.”

Simon believes voters embraced his message because it was not polarizing.

“Folks saw someone that’s really interested in focusing on real issues and not some of these things that have kind of been more newsworthy but less impactful and just going straight to the people and talking to their problems and issues and I think they responded well to that at the ballot booth,” he explained.

Simon’s priorities as state senator include helping more young people enter the workforce, as well as Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs.

“I see the tremendous need that’s out there for finding our blue collar workers and getting them engaged in meaningful employment,” he said.

Simon spoke about how he is “super excited” to be a part of the Florida Senate’s supermajority.

“I think that we’re gonna be able to be really impactful,” he said. “I still think there’s a need to make sure that we’re working with our Democratic colleagues.”

Simon emphasized that it is important to work with people across the aisle who have good ideas.

“I don’t profess to know everything but I do profess to work with folks that know more than I do through this process,” Simon said. “If it’s a Democrat, fantastic. If it’s a Republican, fantastic. We’ve just got problems to solve regardless of party.”

As a former NFL player, Simon spoke on how that level of competition prepared him for his campaign trails.

“For me it’s always been about the process, that’s what I took to the NFL, that’s what I took in running for office,” Simon said. “The prize has never been the driving force for me [….] It’s sitting down with folks throughout this district and having those conversations about, okay what are the problems that you’re seeing? How can we be of service? Those are the things that I look back on in the campaign and say, ‘those are the wins right?’ It wasn’t election night. It was the process of getting to election night and getting to the win.”

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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