HomeFlorida NewsLow blow from the former president: Trump targets Florida Congress member who...

Low blow from the former president: Trump targets Florida Congress member who initially endorsed Ron DeSantis over him


Florida – Former President Donald Trump is actively seeking a Republican candidate to challenge Rep. Laurel Lee of Florida’s 15th Congressional District in the upcoming primary elections. Lee, notable for being the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to endorse Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, has found herself at odds with Trump and a faction of his supporters due to her stance on the 2020 election audit and her political allegiances.

The Search for a MAGA Challenger

In a move that underscores the ongoing rifts within the Republican Party, Trump took to his social media platform late Sunday night to rally support for a MAGA-aligned candidate to run against Lee. “Any great MAGA Republicans looking to run against Laurel Lee in Florida’s 15th Congressional District? IF SO, PLEASE STEP FORWARD!” Trump posted on Truth Social, signaling his intent to find a primary challenger for the congresswoman.

Lee’s endorsement of DeSantis in April 2023, prior to his official entry into the presidential race, set her apart from most other Florida congressional members who backed Trump. This endorsement, coupled with DeSantis’s subsequent withdrawal from the presidential race, has evidently left Lee vulnerable to political retribution from the Trump camp.

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The call for a challenger comes as the qualifying deadline for congressional races looms, with no GOP candidates currently filed to run against Lee, according to federal campaign finance records. However, the possibility of securing a Trump endorsement may entice potential candidates to consider a last-minute entry into the race.

Jackie Toledo, a former state legislator and third-place finisher in the 2022 primary won by Lee, responded to Trump’s call by expressing her readiness to serve as a “Great MAGA Republican.”

Lee’s Tenure

Lee’s political career has been marked by her service as Florida’s top election official, where she faced pressure from Trump supporters to conduct a full audit of the 2020 election results—a move she resisted, along with DeSantis. Her administration was involved in legal battles over controversial election laws, but she maintained that Florida’s elections were conducted smoothly and without significant issues.

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Since joining Congress, Lee has been a consistent Republican vote but has occasionally diverged from the more conservative members of the Florida delegation. Notably, she was among the six Florida GOP members who voted in favor of the $1.2 trillion spending package that averted a government shutdown.

As the political drama unfolds, the potential challenge to Lee’s seat underscores the deep divisions within the Republican Party and highlights the significant influence Trump continues to wield in shaping GOP primaries. With the qualifying deadline approaching, the political landscape in Florida’s 15th Congressional District remains uncertain, with the prospect of a heated primary challenge on the horizon.

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