With less than two months to go until Election Day, Sen. Loranne Ausley begins to turn on the spending tap to defend his North Florida senatorial district.
Ausley, a Tallahassee Democrat who fends off a former football star’s challenge corey simon, has spent more than $110,000 in the last funding period, getting its campaign on the airwaves and on people’s doorsteps. Meanwhile, Simon, a Republican from Tallahassee, spent less than $7,000 over the two-week period.
Ausley is considered perhaps the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. She was named one of the incumbent’s two main “front row” seats for Senate Victory, the campaign arm of the Senate Democrats.
Holding Ausley’s seat in Senate District 3 is vital for Democrats, who are denying Senate Republicans a three-fifths majority by a single seat. Under current Senate rules, by a three-fifths vote, the Senate can approve additional measures such as proposing constitutional amendments, which have become battlegrounds for politics in recent years.
While Ausley’s spending suggests she’s sitting comfortably, campaign spending doesn’t tell the whole story. As one of the most important Senate contests, each candidate has benefited from thousands of milestones from committees representing the Senate Republican and Democratic caucuses.
Ausley’s expenses include a $43,000 contribution from his political committee, Florida 2020to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which ran “three-pack” ads spotlighting Ausley. Three-packs allow State Party Operations to serve announcements that technically support three candidates but functionally support only one. During this time, the party can bypass contribution limits and pay at the nonprofit rate.
The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Approves Simonalso ran three advertisements in his favor.
Ausley’s spending in the two-week period between August 27 and September 9 includes spending $31,000 on media production, over $10,000 on radio advertising and over $8,000 on door hangers. . The bulk of Simon’s recent expenses have gone to printing services and contract labor.
Around this time, Ausley raised $27,000 in his campaign account and nothing in his policy committees. Meanwhile, Simon has raised nearly $8,500 in his campaign account plus $20,000 in his political committee, Friends of Corey Simon.
Recent contributions to Ausley include a $1,000 spread from Ruth’s List Florida, an organization focused on electing Democratic women to support abortion rights.
The Florida Credit Union’s Political Action Committee donated $10,000 to Simon’s efforts, and he received $2,000 from companies associated with private prison corporation The GEO Group. The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC) also spotted Simon $14,900 in polls.
In total, Ausley’s campaign efforts have a share of $384,000 on hand while Simon’s has $145,000 on hand. However, the FRSCC’s pockets are almost 40 times deeper than those of its Democratic counterpart.
Ausley served eight years in the House from 2000 to 2008 and another four years from 2016 to 2020. She was then elected to the Senate in a tighter race than Democrats would have preferred.
In 2020, Ausley defeated Republican Marva Preston of 7 points. But redistricting became SD 3 of a district that went to the presidency Joe Biden from 9 points in 2020 to one that would have only broken its way by 3 points. In addition to its relative underperformance compared to Biden, the party controlling the White House and Congress has consistently performed worse during the midterm years.
With the new lines this year, the district took over Dixie, Lafayette and Suwannee counties after losing Calhoun County and Blountstown to Senate District 2. The new SD 3 covers Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla.
Simon, a Broward County native, played football for Florida State University on a scholarship and was an All-American the year FSU won the BCS National Champions in 1999. He was later selected by the Philadelphia Eagles as the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and was named to the All-Rookie Team of that year.
Simon’s career spanned eight seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. One of those seasons he didn’t play, but he still earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the winning Colts.
After his football career, he devoted himself to philanthropy. Simon started Corey’s Kids, a non-profit organization that offered mentorship to children in the North Florida foster care system. He also partnered with Big Bend Community Based Care, coached high school football at Maclay School in Tallahassee, and was active in a local church.
Likewise, Ausley focused his legislative career in part on children’s services, including early childhood education and health care.
Simon previously served as CEO of Volunteer Florida. Govt. Ron DeSantis appointed him to this post and approved his senatorial campaign.