Donald Trump calls for primary challenge against Laurel Lee

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She was the only member of Florida's congressional delegation to endorse Ron DeSantis for President.

Former President Donald Trump is openly calling for a Republican Primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Laurel Lee. Some political rivals offered to step up immediately.

The presumptive 2024 Republican nominee for President attacked the Thonotosassa Republican in a Truth Social post.

“Any great MAGA Republicans looking to run against Laurel Lee in Florida’s 15th Congressional District? IF SO, PLEASE STEP FORWARD!” Trump wrote.

He didn’t make immediately clear why he wanted a different Republican in the seat, but Lee was the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to endorse Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign for President. Lee immediately endorsed Trump after DeSantis suspended his campaign.

Shortly after Trump put up a post, former state Rep. Jackie Toledo, who lost in a Republican Primary to Lee in 2022, said she would be pleased to run.

“Great MAGA Republican answering the call and ready to serve,” the Tampa Republican posted on X, alongside a picture of herself in a “Trump 2020” cowboy hat.

Laura Loomer, a Lake County Republican and Trump influencer online, also ran in a neighboring district in 2020 and immediately took note online of Trump’s call for a candidate.

“Laurel Lee chose Ron DeSantis over Trump and refused to do an audit of the 2020 election in Florida,” Loomer posted on X. “Ironically, I have all the oppo on Laurel Lee. I exposed her for working against Trump in 2020/2021!”

But Lee also boasts support from other popular figures in the party’s right wing. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and staunch Trump ally, booked a fundraiser for Lee in CD 15 earlier this year and posed with Lee for pictures this weekend at a Reagan Day Dinner in Pasco County.

Lee represents the Florida district most closely divided in the 2020 Presidential Election.  About 50.9% of voters in CD 15 supported Trump that year and more than 47.7% supported Democrat Joe Biden.

The former Florida Secretary of State won a crowded Republican field for the open seat in 2022, then beat Democrat Alan Cohn in the General Election, winning 58.5% of the vote.

This election cycle, the only other candidate filed for the seat to date is Democrat Kris Fitzgerald, who last year raised more than $17,000 for a run.

Lee already has raised nearly $582,000 this cycle, and closed 2023 with more than $438,000 in cash on hand available for her re-election bid.

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].


  • Dont Say FLA

    March 25, 2024 at 11:22 am

    How does Trump garner the support that he does when he’s a giant baby with such a fragile ego that he wants to primary an effective, respected legislator who has done well for her constituency?

    She preferred someone else to be the GOP Presidential candidate than the guy with a proven track record of losing in a big way to the guy the Democrats are running. That puts her in very good company with most everybody, but there goes little piggy Trump, wah wah wahhhhing all the way home.

  • Hung Wiil

    March 25, 2024 at 3:03 pm

    Don’t Say Ye. You are on to something here. For someone who claims he is going to unite the party to beat Joe Biden and the Democrats, this is an odd way of going about it. I mean, she did endorse Trump and DeSantis stepped out. Calling for someone to get primaried should be used with caution, not thrown around willy-nilly.

    Trump is his own worst enemy, too proud to learn and grow. I am supporting him against Biden, but the brand needs improvement. It’s not too late.

Comments are closed.


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