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Sen. Rodrigues not seeking re-election

Jonathan Martin running in new Senate District 33

By NATHAN MAYBERG - | Jun 23, 2022

Jonathan Martin

State Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R-27) is not seeking re-election this November to represent the district that covers most of Lee County.

Lee County Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Martin will run to replace Rodrigues in the State Senate. Martin faces no primary challenger or Democratic Party opposition. Robert Valenta, of North Fort Myers, is qualified to run as a write-in candidate.

The district that encompasses the majority of Lee County is now District 27 but will be District 33 as a result of the redistricting maps approved this year by the state legislature.

The new District 33 will change the dividing line between District 28 to Interstate-75, meaning all of Lehigh Acres will become part of District 28, which is represented by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). Before redistricting, the northwest portion of Lehigh Acres was included in District 27.

The new District 33 covers all of Lee County west of Interstate-75 and extends south to Bonita Springs, ending at the Collier County border. Rodrigues headed the State Senate redistricting committee. While the redistricting committee’s state maps didn’t require the governor’s signature, Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected the legislature’s congressional redistricting maps. The new maps introduced by DeSantis and subsequently approved by the State Legislature have been the subject of litigation.

Rodrigues said he is moving on to other endeavors.

“There are some other opportunities that I’m interested in pursuing,” Rodrigues said.

Rodrigues, who previously represented part of Lee County in the State House of Representatives, currently is employed by Florida Gulf Coast University as the director of interagency partnerships. Rodrigues said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss any possible career change at the moment.

“It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve the constituents of Senate District 27,” Rodrigues said.

“I’ve endorsed Jonathan and I believe he will do a great job,” Rodrigues said.

“I’m happy to have received America’s governor’s endorsement,” Martin said, referring to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Martin grew up in Lee County and graduated from Fort Myers High School. He worked as a prosecutor in the state attorney’s office before moving on to private practice as an attorney. He works for the personal injury legal firm of Parvey & Cavenago.

Martin said he wants to “make sure that our way of life is protected,” including the environment.