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Tom Lee endorses Marco Rubio

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From Windy March: Former state Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon announced today he’s backing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate primary, becoming one of the first prominent Hillsborough Republicans to side with Rubio against Gov. Charlie Crist.

Hillsborough has long been a stronghold for Crist along with his home county of Pinellas. Crist’s Hillsborough supporters include former Gov. Bob Martinez, high-level GOP fundraiser Al Austin and most of the county’s top elected Republican officeholders, from Sheriff David Gee to Republican state legislators.

Lee said his decision to back Rubio isn’t because Rubio now leads Crist in polls. He said he made the decision and told Rubio about it in January, after Rubio came to visit him at his Brandon office and he heard Rubio speak at a rally in Plant City. It was the Rubio campaign’s decision to wait until now to publicize the endorsement, he said.

“I’ve heard a lot of politicians come and go, but this guy is the real deal,” said Lee, who runs his family’s homebuilding business and has a family history of political involvement.

“He can inspire conservatives and connect with people. I think he’s the real conservative in this primary.” Full story here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.

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