LITHIA — State Rep. Jake Raburn hasn't had a challenger since the Republican first won the District 57 seat in 2012.
Now he has an opponent: Valrico's Debbie Katt is a software development engineer and political newcomer who has qualified to run. There's another Democrat, Layla Hartz, who has yet to qualify.
But Raburn won't be facing them in the fall. He announced Monday on Facebook that he would not seek re-election in a district that leans Republican.
Here's what he wrote:
“The past six years have been the most surreal, humbling, overwhelming, exciting, challenging and gratifying on my journey thus far. What started as a glimmer of a dream in my heart many years ago, came to fruition in 2012 when you elected me to serve you by representing our community in the Florida House of Representatives. Since then, I have been honored and humbled to represent southeast Hillsborough County and all who call this place home. The highlights of this journey include helping meet unique and specific needs of our constituents and meeting new people who have become treasured friends.
"After much thought and many hours of prayer with my wife, Melissa, and our family, I've decided to not seek re-election this fall. While serving in the Florida House has been a tremendous honor and pleasure, my number one responsibility is to my family, and I'm confident my place right now is at home with them and in our family business.
"I know you might not always have agreed with the decisions I've made or the votes I've cast, but I hope you can see that this was a responsibility I took very seriously, with much time, research and prayer behind each and every decision and vote. For those of you who have voted for me and supported me throughout the years, your kindness has truly been life changing and your belief in me has made me strive to be a better person. I can't possibly express my gratitude for this opportunity, but it is an experience and responsibility I will treasure for the rest of my life.
"Thank you, for the opportunity you have given me to serve you. I look forward to seeing you, around town, in the coming days!"
District 57 covers most of southern Hillsborough outside Brandon and Progress Village.