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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tom Lee tells friends he'll seek re-election to Florida Senate, skip Hillsborough commission race



From Tampa Bay Times' correspondent William March:

State Sen. Tom Lee, the Brandon Republican whose future has kept the Hillsborough County political world in a state of uncertainty for months, has settled the question - he's telling friends he intends to run for re-election to the state Senate in the new District 20

Randy Larson, former Plant City mayor who had intended to run for Lee's Senate seat if Lee left it, confirmed that Lee gave him the news today.

The move by Lee prevents, at least for now, what could have been a series of falling dominoes among Hillsborough Republican officeholders.

In addition to Larson, at least two Republican state House members, Shawn Harrison of Tampa and Ross Spano of Dover, were interested in running for the Senate seat if Lee vacated it.

If Lee had entered the race for the District 6 Hillsborough County commissioner's seat, as he had considered doing, it would have upended that race, which has four Democratic and two Republican contenders.

The move could preserve Lee's option to seek a statewide office, likely chief financial officer, possibly in 2018 - a move that likely would have been difficult if he had instead run for the county office.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 1:35pm]


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