State Senator Tom Lee adds to duties, is elected chairman of Hillsborough County GOP

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As if he didn’t have enough to do being a new father and a newly elected State Senator, Tom Lee added to his duties by winning a vote to become chairman of the Hillborough Republican Executive Committee.

Going into Tuesday night’s vote, Lee was suppose to face off against former County Commissioner and GOP activist Chris Hart III. But before the vote, Hart released his supporters to Lee just as a surprise candidate, former State Committeeman A.J. Matthews, emerged.

In the end it did not matter who Lee faced. He won with a wide margin. Lee replaces Art Wood.

Lee said he’ll devote the necessary time, and that the local party needs his experience and fundraising ability.

“The party needs some leadership right now to unite factions with the common goal of getting Republicans elected, and needs to elevate its political sophistication,” Lee said.

them to try to find someone else, but failing that, I agreed to do it,” he said.

Some Republicans hope Lee’s stature as a prominent elected official will help bring the party together.

“It will change the face of the party,” said GOP consultant April Schiff. “They need to raise their stature to another level in fundraising and credibility, and having him as chairman would be a step in that direction.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.