A week ago, it appeared John Legg and Wilton Simpson were on a collision course to run against each other in 2016 for a seat in the Florida Senate. The two Republicans had been drawn into the same district after the Florida Supreme Court ratified the redrawing of the state’s Senate seats.
Today, however, a deal to avoid a Simpson vs. Legg showdown appears to be in the works.
According to two Republican campaign consultant sources not attached to either campaign, Legg has agreed to stand down in 2016 so that Simpson, a future Senate President, does not risk losing his seat. For agreeing not to challenge Simpson, Legg will receive the full support of Republican leadership for whatever he wants to do next, such as run for the state Senate seat expected to be held by Tom Lee.
After being drawn into the new SD 10, Legg told insiders that a run against Simpson was not something they would pursue should the Trilby farmer get what he needed to run for presiding officer. Just days ago Legg said as much publicly, telling the Tampa Bay Times, “It is more important to have a Senate President from our area than my own political future.”
Then last week in a move that has political fortunetellers across the state scratching their heads, Legg flip-flopped, telling POLITICO Florida that he would “aggressively” run in the new district. Part of his thinking seems to be his belief that Simpson should run somewhere else.
Today, peace appears to be at hand.
Neither representatives for Simpson or Legg would confirm a deal was in the works, but if you’re looking for proof of a coming Kumbaya, check out this Tweet from POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo.