TRILBY — It's official: Wilton Simpson will be the next state senator for District 18 that includes west Pasco, Dade City, all of Hernando County and most of Sumter.
Simpson won the seat unopposed after Democrats missed a 5 p.m. deadline Thursday to field a replacement candidate after their candidate dropped his bid.
Simpson, 46, is a Republican egg farmer and businessman from Trilby who was making his first run for public office. He also avoided a potentially bruising primary after state Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, decided to run for an adjacent Senate district just weeks before the August primary election.
Though this is Simpson's first campaign, he has long been a politically connected donor who also served on boards for the Pasco County Fair, Economic Development Council and the Pasco Farm Bureau. Simpson said he wants to focus on the economy, education and infrastructure and water issues.