Donald Trump backs Laurel Lee months after calling for a GOP Primary challenge
Rep. Laurel Lee and Donald Trump. Image via X.

Lee and Trump horiz
But at least one GOP Primary challenger said she will stay in the race.

U.S. Rep. Laurel Lee has earned a critical endorsement from former President Donald Trump. The support came months after the de facto leader of the party called for a Republican Primary challenge against the freshman Congresswoman.

“Congresswoman Laurel Lee is an incredible representative for the fantastic people of Florida’s 15th Congressional District,” Trump posted on his Truth Social account. “Laurel is working hard to Secure our Border, Fight Inflation, Defend our Wonderful Military and Veterans, Promote Election Integrity, and Expand American Jobs and the Economy. Laurel Lee has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

He never mentioned in the post that as recently as March, he called for a “great MAGA Republican” to step forward to oust Lee. But he notably has not become further involved in the race since two anti-establishment Republicans filed, citing his request for candidates.

Trump’s initial call for an opponent came after Lee, a former Florida Secretary of State under Gov. Ron DeSantis, was the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to endorse DeSantis over Trump for President this cycle. DeSantis suspended his campaign after a poor showing in Iowa, at which point Lee immediately endorsed Trump.

She cheered Trump’s change of heart as well.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have President Trump’s endorsement,” she posted on X. “When he is elected in November, I vow to work alongside him as an America-first conservative to reverse the policies of the (Joe) Biden administration, including the crisis at our southern border.”

Trump issued his endorsement the same day he met with congressional Republicans in Washington, and Lee posted a photograph of herself with the presumptive GOP nominee for President.

Of note, Trump also endorsed U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster the same day, which prompted the Clermont Republican’s most serious GOP challenger, Anthony Sabatini, to drop out.

Sabatini will run for Lake County Commission instead.

But it was not immediately apparent that the same result would unfold in CD 15, where two Republicans qualified against Lee after Trump initially issued his call for an opponent.

James Judge shifted from challenging Bilirakis in a Republican Primary to taking on Lee days after Trump expressed the desire for an alternative Republican. He called Lee’s record “shockingly terrible.”

“I am running to end the anarchy at the southern border, restore law-and-order nationwide, balance the budget and pay down our national debt, something the Congresswoman has demonstrated she is adamantly against,” Judge said.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Barbosa, a Plant City Republican who once ran for Congress in California, also filed and has campaigned on unwavering support of even Trump’s most controversial stances. Those include a claim the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen and an assertion that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a “setup.”

After Trump announced his endorsement of Lee, Barbosa committed to continuing her fight against Lee.

“This isn’t about Trump. It’s about fair representation,” she posted on X. “Our district deserves a rep who does not side with Democrats on key votes.”

Judge still had Trump’s old Truth Social post calling for a Primary challenger pinned at the top of his social media feed after the endorsement.

Democrat Pat Kemp also qualified to run in the district.

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].


  • TrumpTards2024

    June 14, 2024 at 10:47 am

    Another Rhodes Scholar I’m sure…

  • Anormous

    June 14, 2024 at 11:05 am

    JOIN Make $170 per hour. its very hard to find jobs nowadays. In this situation, you have access to a wealth of resources to help you with your working abilities. Be motivated to promote Thousands of works such as copy paste things through job boards and career websites vx10 on internet.

    Just Take A Look At This>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704