State senate candidates Ausley and Simon debate five weeks before midterm election

Florida Senate District 3 debate
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A contentious race for Florida Senate District Three is coming down to the wire.

Monday, both candidates took to the stage at the Tiger Bay Club luncheon, giving the public their best chance yet at hearing where the two stand on the issues.

The race features incumbent Senator Loranne Ausley and Republican challenger Corey Simon.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, moderator Gary Fineout asked the candidates about Florida’s growing home insurance problem. Premiums are on the rise with little sign of slowing down.

“It is going to take a long, thoughtful process with every single stakeholder at the table ,” Ausley said. “Unfortunately that’s not the way we normally do things in Florida.”

Simon argued the incumbent should bare some of the blame.

“My opponent has been there for 12 years, and the problem hasn’t been fixed. When we continue to kick the can down the road, that’s a problem,” he said.

Ausley countered by pointing out Republicans have held the majority during her time as a state lawmaker.

On the topic of immigration, Ausley was asked to react to the governor flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard using state dollars.

“This is outrageous, it’s unlawful, and it’s nothing but a political stunt,” she said.

Simon was asked the same question, but instead focused on what he calls a broken immigration system and claimed the White House likes it that way.

“Because they need more voters, they are looking for more people to vote in our elections, and this is not what it should be about,” he said.

On Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, Simon didn’t mince his words.

“How far do we continue to go until we’re looking at murder,” he questioned.

Simon did say he would support adding certain exceptions for rape and incest, which was not included in the law passed earlier this year. Simon did not make it clear whether or not he would have voted for the legislation.

Simon described himself as an independent thinker, but Ausley pushed back, arguing that’s not how Tallahassee works.

“You can think that you can be the most independent person, but when you walk in that chamber as a member of a party, supported by the Republicans, you will not be able to be your own person,” Ausley said.