Despite Florida surpassing 20,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, Simpson was scheduled to attend a Christmas party at DeSantis’ governor’s mansion Monday evening.
On Monday, mere hours before he was to oversee the state’s awarding of 29 electoral votes to President Donald Trump, Florida Senate President announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
That same morning, Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis to express his regrets 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, who was formally chosen as Senate president last month, wrote to DeSantis, adding that he was looking forward to casting his vote for President Trump and Vice President Pence.
Biden won the Electoral College 306-232 and is set to be sworn in as president Jan. 20.
An alternate, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, took his place as across the nation 538 electors were meeting in state capitals.
The electors were tested before going to the Capitol for the event, which was set for 2 p.m. in the Senate chambers. Simpson is another prominent Florida elected official to publicly announce testing positive for COVID-19. In November, Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott also tested positive for the illness.
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Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said Simpson was feeling OK, with symptoms similar to allergies or a “slight head cold.”
Despite Florida surpassing 20,000 deaths due to the coronavirus as of Dec. 14, Simpson was scheduled to attend a Christmas party at DeSantis’ governor’s mansion Monday evening. No protocols for masks or social distancing were announced along with the invitations.