Tom Lee will be a Jack Latvala guy, right?

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Now that former Senate President Tom Lee has announced he will fun for the State Senate seat left open by Ronda Storms’ decision to run for Hillsborough County Tax Appraiser, there is much speculation about how the outcome of this election may impact the unofficial race for the Senate Presidency.

“Storms decision … ultimately affects the insider Republican battle between St. Petersburg’s Jack Latvala and St. Augustine’s John Thrasher to be Senate President in two years,” reports the Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo. “Storms was a vote for Latvala.”

At this point, shouldn’t we put Tom Lee down as a vote for Latvala, also?

Lee has been in the race for all of two days, so it’s way too early to assume anything, but the evidence points to Lee being a vote for Latvala.

Not only do they both share a center-right, pragmatic ideology, but Lee’s been a visible supporter of Latvala’s.

It was Lee, the former Senate President, who spoke at Latvala’s event on May 16 to raise funds for his campaign for Senate President.  Lee may not have thought he’d be running for the Senate this year, but he could assume he’d be running sooner or later.  So why make such a visible show of support for Latvala if he did not intend to support his ambitions?

Most important, Latvala and Lee served together. Latvala played a key role as a shuttle diplomat between Lee and Jim King during their own race for the Senate Presidency.

Like I said, Lee has not and probably will not sign a pledge card, but I’m putting him down in Latvala’s column, at least for the time being.

The question now is where do Rep. Rachel Burgin and any of the other contenders for Storms’ seat stand on Latvala v. Thrasher?

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.