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Former state Rep. Neil Combee is latest to announce for Dennis Ross’ seat

Ed Shoemaker, a Lakeland adoption counselor, and Danny Kushmer of Brandon, with the International Responsible Farming Council, also are running.
Neil Combee, former state representative from Polk City, has announced he will run for the 15th Florida congressional district seat. [Florida Channel]
Neil Combee, former state representative from Polk City, has announced he will run for the 15th Florida congressional district seat. [Florida Channel]
Published Apr. 17, 2018

Former state Rep. Neil Combee of Polk City announced Tuesday he'll enter the Republican primary for the congressional seat being vacated by Dennis Ross.

Combee will face a primary against state Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, and at least two others.

Ed Shoemaker, a Lakeland adoption counselor and Republican Party activist, and Danny Kushmer of Brandon, executive director of the International Responsible Farming Council, have both announced they will run.

Other prominent Republicans, including state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa, are also considering entering the race.

Ross announced last week he won't run for re-election to the District 15 U.S. House seat, which covers northeast Hillsborough and parts of Polk and Lake counties.

Combee, 58, an agribusinessman, was in his third term in the state House when he announced in November he would leave the post to accept a presidential appointment as Florida and U.S. Virgin Islands director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.

He resigned that post Tuesday, simultaneously with announcing his run for Congress.

In his announcement, he emphasized his allegiance to President Donald Trump.

He said he accepted the USDA job "because I wanted to help support his America First agenda and be a part of making America Great Again.

"You'd be hard pressed to find a more ardent supporter of the President than a fella he appointed," he said.