Following speculation he might run for state chief financial officer and for the congressional seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, has decided he’ll seek reelection this year.

“It has been a true honor to serve the people of Florida and I am pleased to announce my intention to run for re-election to the Florida Senate,” said Lee in a statement released Wednesday evening.

Lee previously served in the Senate from 1996-2006, serving as Senate president in those last two years. He left the Legislature due to term limits. He returned to the Senate in 2012.

Lee thanked Senate President-designate Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, for his support in making his decision to seek reelection.

“I also want to thank incoming Senate President Bill Galvano for his encouragement and his support of my candidacy,” Lee added. “I am grateful for his friendship and I am looking forward to working together to build a better future for Floridians across our state.”

“Senator Lee is an invaluable member of the Senate and I asked him to run for re-election so we could continue working together for the people of Florida,” said Galvano. “As a former presiding officer, his depth of knowledge and experience are an asset to the Senate and the State of Florida. I am grateful for Senator Lee’s commitment to Floridians and his willingness to continue to serve, and I look forward to working with him on the campaign trail and celebrating his return to the Senate come November.”

In considering his future political plans, Lee had said earlier this year it was a matter of weighing the needs of his family and his future in politics.

Lee represents Senate District 20 which includes parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco counties.

Three other candidates have thus far opened campaign accounts to run for the seat. They are Republican John Houman of Thonotosassa, along Democrats Joy Gibson of Tampa and Kathy Lewis of Wesley Chapel.

Qualifying for legislative begins on Monday.

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