In one of the rare debates to which a high-profile Democrat incumbent has agreed this cycle, incumbent Democrat Florida State Senator Loranne Ausley (District 3) and Republican challenger Corey Simon sparred at the Capital Tiger Bay Club in Tallahassee.
Brian Burgess of Florida’s must-read political newsletter “The Capitolist ReCap” (it’s free and if you follow Florida politics you should subscribe) reported the candidates sparred over abortion, school vouchers, gun rights and independent thinking in the Florida Senate.
Simon, a political newcomer who is running as an unabashed conservative, brings strong name recognition and an impressive resume to the Senate District 3 race. In the 1990’s Simon was a defensive standout who helped lead the Florida State Seminoles to a BCS national championship under coach Bobby Bowden. He also had an eight-year career in the NFL and made a Pro-Bowl appearance in 2004. He later served as CEO of Volunteer Florida, and also served foster children in Florida through Corey’s Kids, a group he started in order to assist disadvantaged youth.
Ausley, the incumbent, is seeking reelection to the Florida Senate after serving two terms in the Florida House. Her family has a long history and deep roots in Tallahassee banking and her father is a prominent attorney, and she has deep ties to the Old Florida Democrat machine in Tallahassee that ran the Sunshine State from the post-Civil War Jim Crow days through the Republican takeover that began in the 1980s.
One of the most telling moments in the debate came with Fineout asked both candidates to clarify their views on abortion restrictions and Florida’s ban after 15-weeks. Simon answered first, saying he believed the state had to draw a line somewhere, and said that the 15-week ban was “about right,” but also clarified that he supported limited exceptions for the health of the mother and rare cases of rape or incest. He also stated he opposed prosecution of women who sought abortions that were otherwise banned.
Mr. Burgess reported Ausley did her best to avoid stating her position, but instead accused Simon of trying to claim he would be an independent thinker, saying that Republicans passed the current law – without exceptions for extreme cases – on a party line vote, and complained that Simon wouldn’t be able to get away with independent thinking in the Florida Senate.
“You are running as a Republican. You are being supported by the Republican Party with millions of dollars. I have seen this happen before. You can think that you can be the most independent person when you walk into that chamber,” Ausley said. “You are not going to be able to be your own person.”
Simon shot back, “Again, that is the problem with the system. Because she’s been a part of the system for so long, she feels like she can’t think for herself and she can’t go against her party,” Simon said. “I’ve always been a leader, and I won’t stop being a leader now.”
To his credit as a reporter and debate moderator Fineout then circled back to ask Ausley to state her position on the 15-week abortion law, pressing her to answer the original question about where she would draw the line on abortion, and Ausley explicitly said she wouldn’t place any government restrictions on abortion.
“The bottom line is that I do not believe that government has any role in this very private decision that a woman should make with her family and her doctor,” Ausley said. “The majority of Floridians do not support restrictions on reproductive rights.”
Even after the debate, Ausley was given another chance to clarify her initial comments about her apparent support for late-term or partial birth abortions, but she instead doubled down on her original statement, reported Brian Burgess.
“These are questions that are ridiculous because right now we are talking about a total ban on everything,” Ausley said. “The government should not be involved in these decisions.”
“The question is how far do we go?” responded Corey Simon. “Is it a partial-birth abortion? Is it 26 weeks? Is it 36? I mean, how far do we continue to go until we’re looking at murder?”
Loranne Ausley’s answer to that fundamental question, “How far do we go?” was to advocate for no limits on abortion – which Democrats call a woman’s right to choose right up to the moment of birth – and we call murder.
Right now, abortion extremist Loranne Ausley has a 5 to 1 cash advantage over conservative Corey Simon, and Simon has been pummeled by independent expenditures from the Far Left for his conservative views on Second Amendment Rights and the Right-to-Life. Go to Corey Simon for State Senate to donate or volunteer to help him defeat Far Left Democrat abortion extremist Loranne Ausley.
Roe v. Wade overturned
Florida State Senator Loranne Ausley
Republican challenger Corey Simon
Florida senate district 3
Florida 15 week abortion ban