Jay Collins has endorsed former opponent Laurel Lee for an open seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.
Lee in May resigned as Secretary of State in order to run for the seat.
“Laurel Lee will bring the commitment to veterans and our military that we need in Washington,” Collins said. “As a member of Gov. DeSantis’ administration, she fought to advance a conservative agenda as his Secretary of State. That’s why we can trust Laurel to take that fight to Washington, and why I am giving her my full support.”
Collins, a Hillsborough Republican, previously was running in the CD 15 contest, but dropped out of the race earlier this month to run for state Senate.
Lee embraced the support.
“Jay is a warrior, not a career politician or bureaucrat, and I am honored to have his support for my candidacy,” Lee said. “Having grown up in a military family, I know the sacrifices Jay has made and the type of man it takes to run toward danger again and again. Jay Collins will serve the state of Florida well and will bring his fight for our area to Tallahassee. I am honored to give him my full support.”
Before his exit from the CD 15 field, Collins had proven himself to be a strong fundraiser. Initially a candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in Florida’s 14th Congressional District, he shifted his campaign to CD 15 in May and led a crowded field of candidates in terms of fundraising.
But DeSantis pushed Collins to instead run for Senate against incumbent Democrat Janet Cruz, who represents Senate District 14. That’s a district where 51.25% of voters under new lines voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election and 47.33% supported Republican Donald Trump.
Lee is one of five Republicans who qualified to run in CD 15, where she faces state Sen. Kelli Stargel, state Rep. Jackie Toledo and veterans Demetries Grimes and Mac McGovern.
The seat is also a swing district and one a bit friendlier to the GOP. About 50.86% of voters there backed Trump compared to 47.74% who supported Biden.