State Watch

Florida GOP Secretary of State Laurel Lee stepping down ahead of midterms

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee (R), the state’s top election official, will step down from her position Monday amid reports she is likely to pursue a bid for Congress.

In her letter of resignation obtained by The Hill, Lee told Gov. Ron DeSantis (R): “I am grateful for your support throughout my tenure, and I am honored to have been part of your vision for our state.”

Lee said that she “will continue to seek what’s best for the citizens of Florida” in her next career choices, adding, “I look forward to what the future holds.”

“We are grateful to Secretary Lee for her service to the State of Florida. Over the past 20 years, Florida has become one of the best states in the nation at administering elections, and Secretary Lee built on that tradition,” DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said in a statement shared with The Hill. “As Secretary of State, she helped ensure Florida had an efficient election in 2020, with accurate results.”
Fenske added: “We wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.”

Lee submitted a letter of resignation to DeSantis on Thursday.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Lee is believed to be planning a run for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, a Tampa-area district containing Zephyrhills, western Lakeland, northeastern Hillsborough and part of Lake County.

The district is currently represented by Rep. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), who is running for the state’s 18th District. Several Republicans have already started vying for the 15th District, which was reassigned after the 2020 census, including former Rep. Dennis Ross and state Rep. Jackie Toledo.

Lee was previously assistant U.S. attorney and circuit court judge in Hillsborough, while her husband Tom Lee is a former Republican state senator in the area. Tom Lee was a state senator for 18 years, including two years as president of the Florida Senate.

Laurel Lee was appointed as Florida secretary of state in 2019 by DeSantis.

Tags Florida Laurel Lee Ron DeSantis

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