Article by SaintPetersBlog: via

State Sen. Wilton Simpson’s re-election campaign announced on Thursday that the Trilby Republican will be qualifying by petition for Senate District 18 in November.

To qualify, Simpson needed to submit a minimum of 3,107 signed petitions from voters in the district, which is one percent of the total number of registered voters. According to the Florida Division of elections, Simpson has 3,331 verified signatures.

Senate District 18 contains portions of Pasco and Sumter Counties and all of Hernando County.

“It has been my intention to qualify by petition because it gives me every opportunity to interact with the people that we represent in the legislature,” Simpson said in a statement. “Our petition totals reflect the local support for our mission, and I’m honored by the strong support from our friends and neighbors. Together, we will continue to work to make Florida’s future bright.”

Running unopposed, Simpson has raised over $450,000 as of March 31, with nearly $320,000 cash on hand.

Simpson, an egg farmer and owner of Simpson Environmental Services, was also the 2013 Philanthropist of the Year for the Nature Coast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Simpson was recognized as 2013 Legislator of the Year for the Farm Bureau, Florida Natural Gas Association, Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Florida Forestry Association and the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association.

The senator also founded the Simpson Breast Health Center, which opened October 2012, providing East Pasco County with a number of healthcare services, including screening, diagnostics, treatment and education for maintaining and restoring breast health.