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Republican Corey Simon defeats Sen. Ausley in SD3 race

A man in a dark suit stands facing forward.
Valerie Crowder
Republican Corey Simon gives victory speech in front of family and friends gathered at his election night watch party on Tuesday.

Republican Corey Simon became the first GOP challenger to defeat state Sen. Loranne Ausley, who's served in the Florida legislature for nearly 15 years, in a district that leans Democratic.

Simon will represent Senate District 3, which covers 13 North Florida counties, including Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla.

Unofficial election night results show Simon beating Ausley by more than six percentage points. As of Tuesday night, Simon had received 53.12% and Ausley had received 46.88%.

"We're going to celebrate for the next 24 hours, and then we're going to get to work. There's a lot of work to be done in this state," Simon told reporters after his victory speech. "We've got a seat at the table."

Democrats have historically held Senate District 3.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers redrew the district lines in a way that made it less Democratic-leaning, giving Simon a head start in the race. Republicans poured money into ads across the district to help Simon make it across the finish line as the winner.

"For the first time since Reconstruction, Tallahassee — District 3 — will be represented by a Republican."

Leon and Gadsden Counties lean Democratic. The other 11 counties in the district are Red.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.