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Voters Send Lee, Spano, Raburn to State Capitol

Republicans Tom Lee, Ross Spano and Jake Raburn won their bids for Florida's Senate and House.

It wasn't a sure thing, said Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

Despite previously serving his community as a state senator, Lee said he never assumed the community would send him back to Tallahassee.

"You never know what to expect," he said from his watch party at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tampa. "It's difficult to predict who's going to go to the polls."

But when the ballots were tallied, Lee had 54.09 percent of the votes to opponent Elizabeth Belcher's 45.75 percent.

It was a more decisive victory for first-time candidate Jake Raburn, R-Lithia. In his race for the District 57 Florida House seat, Raburn handily defeated Bruce Barnett, D-Valrico, 58.64 percent to 41.36 percent.

Raburn watched the totals come in from his watch party at Park Square Cellar in FishHawk Ranch.

"I feel like we did everything we could and ran the best race possible," he said.

Another political newcomer, Ross Spano, R-Riverview, narrowly won the District 59 Florida House race against Gail Gottlieb, D-Brandon. Spano had 50.91 percent to Gottlieb's 49.09 percent.

As of press time, Gottlieb had yet to concede.

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