Lieutenant governor backs Lee in Republican primary for CFO

Published June 7, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - There seems to be little question that the Republican hierarchy believes Tom Lee is the candidate best suited to keep the chief financial officer's job in GOP hands.

Three weeks after picking up the endorsement of Gov. Jeb Bush, the Senate president on Tuesday named Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings as his honorary campaign chairwoman.

"He is the kind of person we are going to need for the job ahead," Jennings said. "What this job needs is a good business person."

Lee, 44, and Jennings have similar backgrounds.

Both worked for their fathers in family-owned construction companies, and each was president of the Florida Senate, where Jennings was beginning the first of two terms as president when Lee came to the Legislature 10 years ago.

"In this case it is a longtime friendship," Jennings said when asked why she chose sides in a primary where state Rep. Randy Johnson of Celebration also seeks the nomination.

The winner of the Sept. 5 primary will face former banking executive Alex Sink of Thonotosassa in November. Sink, 58, is unopposed on the Democratic side.