WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
State News

Florida's Senate President Tests Positive For COVID-19

Florida Capital.jpg Florida's Historic Capital building glows orange at night. The new Capital building rises behind it as the sunset fades.
Erich Martin
Used with permission
A day before Florida's electors gathered at the Capital Monday, the state's Senate President tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Spring Hill), one of the state’s three most-powerful political leaders, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 54-year-old Simpson underwent testing for the virus on Sunday, in advance of a Monday afternoon meeting of Florida electors.

The electors were slated to gather in the Senate chamber to cast ballots for President Donald Trump, who defeated President-elect Joe Biden in Florida by more than three percentage points in last month’s election.

In a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, Simpson said he regretted not being able to attend the meeting because he tested positive for COVID-19.

Simpson, who has advocated for the use of face masks, is experiencing quote “mild symptoms,” similar to having a mild head cold or allergies, according to his spokesperson.

Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) was the alternate who replaced Simpson as a presidential elector.

“Our prayers are with him, as he’s kind of going through this right now. But, I’ve spoken to him today. He’s in good spirits and working hard on the business of the state of Florida,” Brandes said.

Senate staff members who had contact with Simpson last week were tested Monday morning.

While some other Republican leaders have taken more-cavalier approaches to COVID-19, Simpson has adopted more-stringent protocols for senators and staff to try to reduce the spread of the highly contagious virus, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 people in Florida since the onset of the pandemic.