Senate President Wilton Simpson is backing state Sen. Kelli Stargel in the race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.
“Kelli Stargel has been a conservative hero, standing up for our values and leading the fight to protect the unborn,” Simpson said on Thursday. “Kelli has taken on Democrats in Tallahassee to protect girls’ sports, keep gender ideology out of our classrooms and stood firm when ideologues attacked parents’ rights to make decisions for their children. Kelli is a fiscal conservative, who balanced our state budget while prioritizing public safety, world class education opportunities and conservation of our natural resources. I’m proud to endorse Kelli Stargel for Congress, because she is the conservative hero Floridians need to take a stand for our families and battle Washington’s economic ignorance.”
Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, launched her campaign to shift from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C. last month. Prior to her Congressional bid, Stargel represented Senate District 22 in the Florida Senate and served the last two years as Senate Appropriations Committee Chair in the Legislature.
This past legislative cycle, Stargel was the Senate sponsor for the 15-week abortion ban bill (SB 146). She also sponsored legislation that barred transgender females from playing on women and girls scholastic sports teams in Florida and pushed back against mask and vaccine mandates.
“Wilton Simpson has led a conservative revolution in the Florida Legislature that will have a profound impact on our state for generations to come and I am honored to have his support,” said Stargel. “I am proud of the work we’ve done to stand with Governor Ron DeSantis to make Florida the beacon of freedom and prosperity it has become to people across the country.”
Stargel joins an already crowded field of GOP candidates eyeing the newly drawn district, including Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and State Rep. Jackie Toledo. Other Republicans running for the open seat include veterans Jay Collins, Demetries Grimes, Kevin McGovern and Jerry Torres.
CD 15, which leans Republican, encompasses parts of northeast Hillsborough County. It also stretches north into Pasco County and covers Stargel’s Polk County, including half of Lakeland.