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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Sen. Tom Lee not certain to run for re-election

Sen. Tom Lee, R- Brandon, left, applauds with other Senators Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, Audrey Gibson, D- Jacksonville, and David Simmons, R- Altamonte Springs after the Florida Senate passed the state budget, Friday, in Tallahassee. Lee is the appropriations chairman for the Senate.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Sen. Tom Lee, R- Brandon, left, applauds with other Senators Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, Audrey Gibson, D- Jacksonville, and David Simmons, R- Altamonte Springs after the Florida Senate passed the state budget, Friday, in Tallahassee. Lee is the appropriations chairman for the Senate.

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March

State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, has filed to run for re-election in 2016, but that doesn't mean he is certain to do so. Within moments of the Legislature's annual session ending on Friday, Lee cast doubt on whether he'll run again for the Senate later this year.

"There are some compelling reasons to call it a day," Lee said. "I'm just going to go back and think about it for a little while and see what is in the best interest of the (Republican) caucus, my family and try to make a decision later on in the spring."

Lee served in the Florida Senate from 1996 to 2006 and then returned in 2012. Lee was Senate president from 2004 to 2006 and for the last two years has been the Senate Appropriations chairman where he was responsible for crafting the state budget. 

"I feel like I've pretty much done everything there is to do up here," Lee said. "So there is part of that that is in the back of my mind. I'm a long way from my family."

Seven weeks ago, Lee re-filed to run for the newly redrawn District 20, which includes parts of Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties. He is the only candidate to have filed to run in the race.

If he runs for the new district, Lee will have to move north. That is because his home in Brandon is in the newly redrawn District 21, which is the same district Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton currently lives. Galvano is in line to become Senate President in 2018

Lee has amassed more than $177,000 in his re-election campaign account. In a political action committee he runs, called The Conservative, he's raised just under $800,000 since July.

[Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2016 8:43pm]

    

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