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Florida’s Senate president gets COVID-19

Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, was forced to skip today’s 2 p.m. meeting that was to award the state’s 29 electoral votes to Donald Trump.
Senator Wilton Simpson, Florida's Senate president, R- Trilby.
Senator Wilton Simpson, Florida's Senate president, R- Trilby. [ SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Dec. 14, 2020
Updated Dec. 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Senate President announced Monday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, just hours before he was to oversee the state’s awarding of 29 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday morning that he wouldn’t be able to participate.

“As a result of this positive test, it is with great regret that I inform you I will not be able to attend today’s meeting of Florida’s Presidential Electors,” Simpson wrote to DeSantis. “It was a great honor to be selected to serve our state in this historic capacity, and I was very much looking forward to casting my vote for President Trump and Vice President Pence.”

Simpson, who was formally chosen as Senate president last month, was one of 29 presidential electors scheduled to meet in Florida’s Senate chambers at 2 p.m. today to cast their votes for Trump and Pence.

Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said Simpson was feeling OK, with symptoms similar to allergies or a “slight head cold.”

It wasn’t immediately clear who would replace Simpson during Monday’s vote.