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Gaetz takes sides in open Tampa race, endorses former Sen. Tom Lee

In a statement emanating from the Republican Party of Florida, Senate President-designate Don Gaetz weighed in on one open GOP primary that was garnering some attention, the race to replace Sen. Ronda Storms. Gaetz is endorsing Tom Lee, the former Senate president from Brandon, over Rep. Rachel Burgin, also of Brandon. Retiring state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, announced yesterday that he will not be entering the race but will remain a candidate for Hillsborough County property appraiser.

Gaetz's statement:

"It is a special privilege for me to join with his friends and neighbors in the Tampa Bay area in endorsing Tom Lee for the Florida Senate. The unexpected departure of Senator Ronda Storms leaves her community and her district in need of strong leadership. In my view, Tom Lee is that strong leader.

"Senator Lee grew up and has spent his life in the community he seeks to represent.  He knows firsthand the struggles and successes of being a small business owner.  His beliefs reflect the conservative values and independent thinking of his neighbors.


"As a former senator and former Senate president, Tom brings solid experience and a track record of real accomplishments to Tallahassee.  He will hit the ground running at full speed with the knowledge and skill to help build Florida’s future.  Tom Lee will be a leader in the Florida Senate the moment he walks on the floor.

"Personally, I look forward to working closely with Senator Lee and relying on him for guidance and advice during my years as Senate President."