Plant City leaders endorse Laurel Lee
Laurel Lee. Image via Colin Hackley.

Four of the city's current elected officials and a former Mayor endorsed the Republican.

Thonotosassa Republican Laurel Lee landed support of most of Plant City’s elected leadership for her bid for Congress.

The majority of the Plant City Commission endorsed the former Secretary of State for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. That includes Mayor Nathan Kilton, Vice Mayor Michael Sparkman and City Commissioners Bill Dodson and Jason Jones.

Lee also landed the support of former Plant City Mayor Rick Lott.

“I am honored to have the support of these respected Plant City leaders,” Lee said. “Plant City is very special to me. I served as a Circuit Court Judge in Plant City, and I have close ties to the people and the issues that are unique to the area. I know the community — its history, its values and vision — well, and I have great respect for the families and businesses who call Plant City home.”

Then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2013 appointed Lee to the Circuit Court in the 13th Judicial Circuit and she worked in Hillsborough County. Later, Gov. Ron DeSantis picked Lee in 2019 for his Secretary of State. She resigned from that position in May to run for Congress in the open CD 15 seat.

In terms of value, the support from Plant City shows solid support in east Hillsborough County, a home turn for her and her husband, former state Sen. Tom Lee. That’s valuable as she competes for the Republican nomination, including against sitting state Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Tampa Republican.

Plant City also serves as the home address for Kevin ‘Mac’ McGovern, another Republican seeking the GOP nomination.

CD 15, under a new congressional map signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, covers east Hillsborough, as well as west Polk County and south Pasco.

In the fundraising race, the Hillsborough candidates have laid claim to the largest hauls. Lee added more than $510,000 in her opening quarter. McGovern has largely self-funded and holds almost $399,000. Toledo, who has been in the CD 15 race the longest, has raised more than $520,000 and holds more than $391,000 in cash on hand.

The Polk County portion serves as a home to other GOP Primary competitors including state Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, and veteran Demetries Grimes, a Winter Haven Republican.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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