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Commissioners hear diatribe against Lee
Posted Jul 18, 2012 by Mike Salinero and William March
Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Political opponents’ accusations of marital infidelity against former state Senate President Tom Lee spilled over into a Hillsborough County Commission meeting today.
Brandon businesswoman Lela Lilyquist criticized the four Republican commissioners backing Lee in the GOP primary contest for state Senate District 24, Ken Hagan, Al Higginbotham, Sandra Murman and Mark Sharpe. Lilyquist held up a campaign mailer that said Lee abandoned his first wife for a gambling lobbyist and compared him to Hillsborough Property Appraiser Rob Turner, a Republican who has admitted sending sexually themed text messages and e-mails to his human resources director.
Lilyquist supports Lee’s opponent, state Rep. Rachel Burgin, in the primary for the state Senate nomination.
Even though the mailer attempts to tar Lee with association with a gambling lobbyist—a charge he denies—it was in fact put out by an independent political committee run by the wife of a lobbyist who represents gambling industry clients, a Tribune story revealed today.
The mailer also drew a rebuke from state Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry, who said in a statement Tuesday it “crossed that line” against attacking families of politicians in campaigns.
Lee said the lobbyists are still angry that he pushed laws banning gifts from lobbyists to legislators and requiring lobbyists to disclose their fees.
Lee and his first wife, who have two children, were divorced in 2003. He and his second wife are expecting a child.