The Big Bend’s new State Senator, Corey Simon, says Republicans in other states should follow the Florida GOP’s playbook to replicate their success.

Simon is part of a new class of Republicans who swept into offices across the state Tuesday while nationwide the GOP didn’t claim the red wave many had predicted. Speaking Saturday on Fox News’ “Lawrence Jones Cross Country,” Simon suggested Republicans take a look at what their Floridian counterparts and Gov. Ron DeSantis are doing.

When asked by Jones, Simon agreed voters want strong, decisive leadership, something he said DeSantis has brought.

“That’s what folks are looking for. I think the weak-kneed approach is not working,” Simon said.

Simon unseated Democratic Sen. Loranne Ausley, a longtime Democratic lawmaker, in North Florida’s Senate District 3 by a vote of 53%-47%. He is the first Republican to represent Leon County in the Florida Senate in decades, possibly since Reconstruction.

To achieve his electoral success, Simon said he focused on economic issues and technical education, issues he said resonated with his constituents in SD 3. Unsaid in the segment, Simon’s campaign and the Florida GOP had also repeatedly hit Ausley on LGBTQ issues.

It’s reminiscent of what he says DeSantis has focused on.

“I think what our great Governor has done is kept the state open during COVID, really focused on family, having the say-so that they need over their kids’ lives and really focused on freedom,” Simon said. “I can’t speak to the rest of the country. All I know is it’s important for us to protect the sovereignty of the great state of Florida, and that’s what I was elected to do.”

Before entering politics, Simon played a successful career in football. He was the centerpoint of Florida State’s defense during their championship-winning 1999 season — when he was also named an All-American — and played a professional career that spanned eight seasons in the National Football League.

Simon, a Black man who grew up with a single mother, has been considered an inspiration by many. Jones asked whether Simon will campaign across the country to try to usher in Republican success elsewhere.

Simon said no, his responsibility is to his constituents in SD 3.

“I live in one of the poorest districts in the state of Florida, and so it’s important that I focus my time on those folks,” Simon said. “Those are the people that voted for me, and those are the people that I’m fighting for.”

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