Army veteran Chuck Nadd to vie with Wilton Simpson for Florida agriculture commissioner
TALLAHASSEE — Chuck Nadd, a Winter Park resident who flew helicopters for the U.S. military, filed paperwork Monday to fight Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson in the Republican primary for state agriculture commissioner.
Nadd, who has criticized Simpson and other legislative leaders for failing to pass the redistricting maps of Congress demanded by Gov. Ron DeSantis, said online that he “would promote clean water and a a strong conservative pro-growth agenda,” and would be the “voice” of family farms and “all Floridians who are fed up with corporate-bought politicians.”
Nadd also asked Simpson about immigration and his support for the sugar industry. Simpson’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Having completed two tours of Afghanistan, Nadd cites co-founding Airborne Agricultural Intelligence as one of his occupations, which offers “basic aerial surveys” and “other tasks requiring eyes in the sky.”
Nadd, who grew up in the Orlando area, graduated from the US Military Academy and later attended Harvard Business School.
He garnered national attention when he was featured in a 2014 Super Bowl ad focused on returning veterans, but he’ll still need to raise some quick cash.
Simpson, who is one of the wealthiest members of the Legislative Assembly and whose business interests include an egg farm, had raised more than $1.28 million for his personal campaign account as of February 28. Simpson also heads at least three political committees — known as the Jobs for Florida, Florida Green PAC and Future Florida — which collectively had about $7 million at their disposal.
Trump endorsed Simpson in May 2021, saying the Trilby Republican had his “full and total endorsement!”
“Wilton was a great supporter and worked hard to get many good conservatives elected in Florida,” Trump said. “He helped us grow our Republican majority in the Florida State Senate and gave us a historic victory in Florida in the 2020 presidential election.”
Simpson’s campaign also recently announced a series of endorsements, including from Attorney General Ashley Moody, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and 59 county sheriffs. .
As Senate Speaker, Simpson has been a key player on a wide range of issues. One of his priorities in the 2021 session, for example, has been to pass a bill expanding Florida’s so-called “right to farm” law, which helps protect farmers from lawsuits.
Nadd is the fourth Republican to contest for the seat vacated by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
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Richard Olle Jr. of Valrico had not raised any money as of February 28, having opened a campaign account in March 2021. James Shaw of Vero Beach had not raised any money since investing $20,000 of his own money. when opening a campaign account also in March 2021.
Democrat Ryan Morales of Clermont had raised $3,100 and contributed $2,030 of his own money, since filing in February 2021.
By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida