After months of speculation, Florida State football legend Corey Simon officially launched his campaign for Florida Senate District 3.
Simon, a former All-American defensive tackle and graduate of Florida State University (FSU), announced on Monday that he would run on the Republican ticket and challenge incumbent Democratic State Senator Loranne Ausley in SD 3.
“Tallahassee has given my family and I the opportunity to succeed and thrive both on the field and off. North Florida is our home, and I want to do everything I can to give back to the community that has given so much to us,” Simon said in a statement.
“I am proud to announce my campaign for State Senate, because our community needs a voice that can deliver access to world class educational opportunities, safer neighborhoods and less government regulations on our small business owners.”
Simon is no stranger to Tomahawk Nation or the district he seeks to represent. The Broward County native played football for FSU from 1996 to 1999, capping off his career in Garnet and Gold as a consensus All-American his senior year, while capturing the 1999 BCS National Championship alongside FSU Hall of Fame Head Coach Bobby Bowden. He would go on to be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles as the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft.
After eight seasons in the NFL, Simon returned to his roots and devoted himself to philanthropy. He started the Corey Simon Success Center which focused on mentoring kids in North Florida. After operating his Success Center program for seven years at a local middle school, Simon turned his attention to a partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families and Big Bend Community Based Care, creating Corey’s Kids a part of the Camps for Champions directive established by former Governor Rick Scott.
Transitioning from the gridiron to the political trenches, Simon was later tapped by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2020 to serve as CEO of Volunteer Florida.
He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences from FSU.
Following Monday’s announcement, Simon immediately picked up endorsements from GOP leaders in the Florida Senate. President Wilton Simpson, the leading Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, backed Simon and touted his leadership during his tenure at Volunteer Florida.
“As CEO of Volunteer Florida, Corey knows firsthand the challenges that so many Floridians face and has led the charge to connect those in need with those willing to lend a hand,” said Simpson. “He is uniquely suited to serve the hardworking people of Florida, and I am proud to endorse such a compassionate candidate for Senate District 3.”
President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo and Senator Ben Albritton, who are in line to lead the Senate in the coming years, also backed his bid to flip SD 3.
A lot of people talk about what needs to be done to help our communities, but Corey Simon has actually put in the hard work to understand the challenges people face. That’s what problem solvers do,” said Passidomo. “I look forward to welcoming Corey to the Florida Senate.”
“Leaders are born on the field, in the arena. 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,” added Albritton. “Floridians need leaders like Corey Simon in the Florida Senate.”
Simon thanked the trio for their seal of approval, promising to work hard for the voters of North Florida.
“Senate Leaders Simpson, Passidomo and Albritton have fought to protect Florida’s families and expand freedom for our people and our businesses,” added Simon. “I am honored to have their support as I work to earn the trust of North Florida voters.”
Ausley defeated Republican Marva Preston to capture SD 3, which includes Tallahassee, by 7 points in 2020. Prior to being elected to the Florida Senate, Ausley served 12 years in the Florida House.
SD 3, a traditionally blue district, shifted 6 points in favor of Republicans after the latest round of redistricting.