Wilton Simpson presiding over the Florida Senate on Oct. 19, 2021. Credit: Danielle J. Brown
With 98 percent of precincts reporting across the state, Florida’s elected Cabinet members — Agriculture Commissioner, Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer — will all be Republicans.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, will be replaced by a male Republican — Wilton Simpson, who has been the Florida Senate President.
Republican Ashley Moody, the Attorney General, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, will serve another term.
According to a poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Republican candidates for the Cabinet held a “strong position” to be elected. The poll was published Oct. 26 and was composed of 601 Floridians statewide.
In 2018, Fried became the only statewide-elected Democrat on the Florida Cabinet that election cycle.
But she chose to not seek reelection in 2022 to run for Florida governor, a bid that ended at the August primary, when former U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination.
Crist lost to DeSantis on Tuesday.
The Florida Constitution states that the Florida Cabinet is comprised of the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Attorney General and the Chief Financial Officer, with the Governor as chair.
The Cabinet is involved in a variety of statewide matters.
For example, Cabinet members are involved in decisions regarding clemency, which restores the civil rights and grants full or conditional pardons for those who have been convicted of crimes.
With Fried choosing not to seek reelection, the seat was open for either Simpson or first-generation Haitian-American minister Naomi Esther Blemur to take up the mantle.
Simpson’s team has already released a victory statement, saying that he was “honored” that Floridians had entrusted him to serve as the next Agriculture Commissioner.
“Floridians showed the rest of the country that common sense is bipartisan in a stunning rejection of socialism, woke ideology and the economic ignorance coming out of Washington and embraced by so many politicians who look down on, instead of lifting up the people we serve,” he said in the written statement.
Incumbent Attorney General Ashely Moody secured her position as the state’s leading attorney.
Her Democratic opponent, Aramis Ayala was Florida’s first Black state attorney, according to her campaign site. She opposes the death penalty and studied criminal justice at the University of Central Florida. But Moody won the race.
As the Attorney General, Moody has participated in lawsuits that have helped push some of DeSantis’ priorities, including suing the Biden administration over immigration policies and the federal Centers for Disease Control’s shutdown of the cruise industry during the COVID-pandemic. She has also focused on drug trafficking and the opioid crisis.
Moody released a written statement following her early lead in the polls:
“These priorities will remain in sharp focus throughout my second term as your Attorney General, along with fighting against federal overreach, protecting our borders, combatting the fentanyl epidemic, and working toward a stronger, safer Florida. Thank you for the honor of serving Florida families, and those who call the Sunshine State home,” Moody said in the written statement.
Chief Financial Officer
Jimmy Patronis kept his seat as the state’s Chief Financial Officer.
His Democratic opponent was Adam Hattersley, a Navy veteran and a former Democratic state House member, according to his campaign website.
The Florida Constitution outlines that the state’s CFO “shall settle and approve accounts against the state, and shall keep all state funds and securities.” The job also includes the role of the State Fire Marshal.
Patronis, a Republican, has largely supported DeSantis-led policies, including reopening Florida businesses early into the pandemic.
Patronis tweeted: Thank you.
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