Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed state Rep. Tom Leek in his re-election bid.
“Tom Leek is a fighter for Volusia County and for Florida,” DeSantis tweeted on Monday. “He will stand with me to protect your freedoms. I’m proud to stand with him this November.”
Leek was first elected to the Florida House in 2016 and is running this year for his final term before facing term limits. The Ormond Beach Republican is running in House District 28 under the new map (H 8013) approved by the Legislature this year in a redistricting process chaired by Leek.
The incumbent faces a GOP Primary challenge from Alex Newman, who last month picked up the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. Democrats John Navarra and Kris Stark have also filed for the seat.
Under the new map, 53.13% of voters supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election, compared to 45.64% who backed Democrat Joe Biden.
Leek embraced the Governor’s support.
“Honored to receive the endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis today,” Leek tweeted from his campaign account.
The move comes after Leek found himself in the middle of a rare point of friction between DeSantis and the Legislature. As chair of the House Redistricting Committee, Leek played a major role in crafting a congressional plan ultimately vetoed by the Governor. Leek worked closely with House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee Chair Tyler Sirois in ushering the map through the process.
A judge has since said that map is unconstitutional, a decision being appealed by the state. While DeSantis’ redistricting interference has been criticized, Leek has defended the Governor’s involvement.
“The Legislature’s obligation is to make sure the new maps come out. That’s their obligation,” Leek said at a Volusia Chamber meeting in April. “The Governor has always had a role in that process.”