Simmons sets higher bar for ‘winning’

Based on last week’s election results, there is one Republican in Escambia County who is even more popular with voters than President Trump — newly elected Sheriff Chip Simmons. 

Well, to be fair, there are a couple other local Republicans — Tax Collector Scott Lunsford and Clerk of Courts Pam Childers — who also won more Escambia voters than President Trump. But they didn’t face Democratic opposition like Simmons did.     

Simmons took home 106,685 votes, more than 63%, against a strong Democratic opponent in former Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander. To be clear, Simmons got 10,000 more votes than Trump got. And in these dimwitted days of hyper-partisanship, that means Simmons earned votes from citizens outside his own political party.

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Trump isn’t the only heavy-hitter our new sheriff bested. Simmons earned roughly 13,000 more votes than Matt Gaetz did in Escambia County as well, proving that you don’t have to wear makeup and bilk taxpayer money for a television studio in your daddy’s house in order to win the hearts and minds of local voters.    

Krystle Nowlin, right, and Escambia County Sheriff-elect Chip Simmons take a selfie at his election night watch party at Beef 'O' Brady's in Pensacola on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

And unless I’m not aware of some secret social media accounts that Simmons uses for internet-trolling and trash-tweeting (which is entirely possible since I spend less time on Facebook than the president spends in real books), it also appears that Simmons won by running a classy, civilized and drama-free campaign. Shocking, I know. 

In a phone call on Thursday, Simmons said he made it clear to folks on his team that he wouldn’t tolerate the sort of negative campaigning and social media cesspool that’s become too typical of modern politicians, including numerous elected officials here in Escambia County. 

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