Carlos Lopez-Cantera Archives - Page 4 of 31 - Florida Politics

Carlos Lopez-Cantera commends David Jolly for decision to run for re-election

Carlos Lopez-Cantera is applauding his one-time opponent’s decision to run for re-election in the U.S. House.

Lopez-Cantera, the state’s lieutenant governor and one of several Republicans running for the U.S. Senate, commended Rep. David Jolly for “doing the right thing and taking on Charlie Crist.”

Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican, announced Friday afternoon he was dropping his U.S. Senate bid and running for re-election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District instead. Crist, a Democrat, is also running in CD 13.

“Charlie has proven over and over again that he only cares about himself as the ultimate narcissist. He will say anything and try to be everything to everyone,” said Lopez-Cantera in a statement. “I look forward to helping beat Charlie again and hopefully we will be done with talking about Charlie once and for all after this election cycle.”

Jolly could be the first of several Republicans to bow out of the U.S. Senate race in the coming days. Sen. Marco Rubio, who had long said he wouldn’t run for re-election, is reconsidering that decision, saying he plans to take the weekend to consider his options.

“Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on, not just in Orlando but in our country,” he said in a press briefing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. “I’ve enjoyed my service here a lot, so I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”

Those remarks came shortly after Marc Caputo with POLITICO reported that Lopez-Cantera encouraged Rubio, his longtime friend, to reconsider his seat. In an email to supporters Wednesday, the lieutenant governor again said he asked Rubio to “reconsider his decision and enter the Senate race.”

Lopez-Cantera has kept a low profile for much of the week, leading some to wonder if he was preparing to get out of the race. But a spokeswoman for his campaign said Friday, that until Rubio reaches his decision Lopez-Cantera remains a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“Carlos has been focused on performing his duties as lieutenant governor,” said Courtney Alexander, a spokeswoman for Lopez-Cantera’s campaign. “The POLITICO story stands as the correct story. Until Sen. Rubio reaches his decision, Carlos is a candidate for the United States Senate.”

Rubio doesn’t have much time left to make a decision. The qualifying period officially opens at noon on Monday, and runs for a week. If he gets in, Lopez-Cantera has already said he won’t run.

His decision could also have an impact on Rep. Ron DeSantis’ future. DeSantis, a Ponte Verde Beach Republican, said Rubio’s indecision has made it difficult for candidates. DeSantis told radio host Hugh Hewitt this week that he hopes Rubio makes his decision quickly so others can respond.

Two candidates who likely won’t be leaving the race — Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox. Both have said they will continue to run regardless of Rubio’s decision.

The deadline to qualify for the U.S. Senate seat is noon on June 24.

David Jolly drops Senate bid, will seek re-election to CD 13; Charlie Crist, Dems respond

 U.S. Rep. David Jolly has unfinished business.

After weeks of pressure from local officials, bolstered by rumors of Marco Rubio seeking re-election, Jolly is dropping his bid for the U.S. Senate, opting instead for a re-election bid in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“David Jolly’s passion is to serve the people of Pinellas,” former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker confirmed in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “He learned at the side of Congressman Bill Young, and he has effectively served all parts of our county.

“I strongly endorse his candidacy and his re-election.”

With the possibility of Rubio entering the race, the prospects for Jolly — a Harbor Bluffs Republican — in the crowded Senate GOP primary had worsened somewhat. The decision to run for re-election indicates his feeling that there is a better chance against former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as a Democrat for the Pinellas County-based seat.

“Unlike what my new opponent did when I announced,” Crist said in a statement.  “I’m not going to start name calling like [Republican presidential front-runner] Donald Trump – everyone should do what’s in their heart. Pinellas needs less Donald Trump and more civility to tackle issues like the rising cost of health care, gun violence, failing schools, and protecting our environment –  that’s why I’m running, for the people.”

As for Jolly’s Senate aspirations, the challenge for him and the other GOP Senate candidates in Florida was Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority leader who has openly backed Rubio entering the race.

McConnell, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other leaders, lobbied for Rubio to run for re-election.

According to Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida, McConnell’s move chilled many donors by casting doubts on the viability of the five Republicans already in the Senate race. June was expected to be a strong fundraising month for all the candidates.

Jolly entered the Senate race last year after Rubio, the incumbent, launched his bid for president. However, after exiting the race earlier this year, Rubio told reporters last week he would consider a return to the Senate in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, which gave him the inspiration on how he could best serve the nation.

If Rubio decides to run, he must do it by June 24, the filing deadline to qualify for the ballot.

As for the remaining Republican field, both Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis also stated they would not run against Rubio if he seeks re-election.

Manatee County homebuilder Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox — two outsider candidates who have officially filed to run — have maintained that they will continue their campaigns, despite Rubio.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s Sadie Weiner blasted Jolly’s decision to run for his old House seat as the result of “lackluster support” for his “ill-prepared” Senate campaign.

“David Jolly wanted any excuse to end his Senate campaign that was defined by lackluster support and pathetic attempts to scrub his lobbying career from his public biography,” Weiner said in a statement. “He was ill-prepared to run a statewide race, let alone represent Florida in the U.S. Senate.  We wish the NRCC the best of luck with their former lobbyist candidate who they accused of lying after he brought a secret camera crew into their office.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant argued that Jolly “abandoned” Pinellas County voters when he decided to run for the Senate, and only returned to the CD 13 race when he saw that no Republican could win statewide.

“One year after abandoning the job the people of Pinellas County elected him to do, David Jolly has changed his mind and is returning to run in the district he argued ‘no Republican can win,’” Tant said in a statement Friday. “Jolly’s lack of commitment and principle are exactly what Pinellas County residents would expect from a Washington lobbyist who is only interested in furthering his political career. Florida Democrats look forward to sending David Jolly back to K Street in November.”

In new ad, Carlos Beruff says ‘we are all simply Americans’

Carlos Beruff is out with a new campaign advertisement, calling on Floridians to reject what he calls a hyphenated county.

The release of the 30-second spot, called “Simply American,” comes as Marco Rubio prepares to announce whether he will run for re-election.

In his new ad, an announcer is heard saying: “Ever get tired of all these hyphens? Separating American with all these divisions. America is strongest when we are united.”

“We all owe America; it’s not the other way around. Some call me a Cuban-hyphen-American. I reject that. I don’t believe in hyphenated Americans,” Beruff is then heard saying. “We are all simply Americans. Let’s put America first. I’m Carlos Beruff. I approve this message, with no hyphen.”

Beruff is one of five Republicans currently running for the U.S. Senate. But political insiders widely expect to see a shift in the race in the coming days, as Rubio decides whether to run again.

Rep. David Jolly is set to hold a news conference this afternoon to announce his plans. Many expect him to drop out of the U.S. Senate race and run for re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist.

Rubio’s longtime friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has already said he would bow out if Rubio gets in. He even told supporters this week he encouraged Rubio to reconsider. Rep. Ron DeSantis may also be forced to consider his options if Rubio enters.

Rubio is expected to talk with his family over the weekend about whether he should run for re-election.

Beruff has said he would stay in the race even if Rubio gets in. So has Republican Todd Wilcox.

The qualifying deadline is noon on June 24.

Todd Wilcox talks Senate race, Pulse tragedy

FloridaPolitics.com caught up with Republican Senate candidate Todd Wilcox in Jacksonville Thursday, where he gave his thoughts on the possible re-entry of Marco Rubio into the race, and the mass shooting in Orlando Sunday.

The big narrative of the week in the Florida Senate race involves Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Marco Rubio having a conversation in the wake of the Pulse incident, with CLC being willing to step aside if Rubio wanted in.

Wilcox’s take?

“It smacks of … calculation,” he told FloridaPolitics.com.

Regarding Lopez-Cantera and David Jolly being willing to step aside for Rubio, Wilcox described it as “wishy-washy.”

And Wilcox, as he’s had to say repeatedly this month, is “in the race no matter what.”

His experience in the Global War on Terror is his calling card, he believes, in “an election defined by national security” in the wake of Pulse.

Wilcox’s experience is unique: he’s the only person in the Senate race who speaks Arabic, with combat experience in the theaters of warfare against the jihadis.

This experience, Wilcox contends, is more substantial than that gleaned by a politician receiving “classified briefings.”

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Of course, as Sunday taught us, the War on Terror is now on the homefront.

“Orlando and America are forever changed,” Wilcox said, with the “fight at our doorstep.”

“We are at war,” Wilcox added. “This is a wake-up call to voters [who need to] start electing people who understand” the conflict as it is.

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Wilcox also addressed Veterans’ Court, an initiative of the 4th Judicial Circuit.

Mitch Perry Report for 6.16.16 -CLC clears the path for Rubio

Politics never takes a day off, and some would probably say it shouldn’t. Take the reaction this week to the shooting massacre in Orlando.

Democrats have done what they believe urgently needs to be done to lessen the possibility of further mass gun shootings, by introducing gun control legislation in Washington.

In Washington early this morning, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy put himself into the history book with a nearly 15-hour filibuster to force the Senate to take action to address gun violence. Murphy tweeted at 1:53 a.m. that “we will have a vote on closing the terror gap & universal background checks.”

Meanwhile in Orlando, a handful of state Democratic lawmakers like Darren Soto and Geraldine Thompson called for the Legislature to hold a special session to call for additional gun control measures. That didn’t go down well with GOP leadership.

“The president does not support expending taxpayer dollars on a special session unless there is definitive support within the Senate for a concrete legislative proposal that requires time-sensitive action,” said Katie Betta, a spokesperson for Senate President Andy Gardiner. “Absent those elements, the president has a hard time viewing press conferences calling for a special session three days after the worst act of terrorism in this country since September 11 as anything more than political posturing by two senators who have declared their intention to run for Congress.”

Is it exploitive, or just a natural reaction to try to prevent further tragedies?

Yesterday, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner was accused of being exploitive when he was able to lobby his colleagues to approve hanging the rainbow flag over the County Center in downtown Tampa for the rest of gay pride month.

And what about the GOP U.S. Senate race? Although momentum for Marco Rubio to re-enter the race has been growing for weeks, we’re now told the events in Orlando may be the X factor that brings Rubio back, and compels his ally, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, to leave the race.

In a statement yesterday, CLC issued a statement after talking to Politico, saying “I have asked Sen. Marco Rubio to reconsider his decision and enter the senate race.  The decision is his and his alone to make. As friends for 20 years, this race is so much bigger than the two of us, and, as you have heard me say on the trail, this race isn’t about an individual, this race is about Florida and the future of our country.”

But is the race bigger than CLC, but not bigger than Rubio?

“You should reconsider running for your seat,” Lopez-Cantera says he told Rubio last Sunday in Orlando, after they had been on the ground, dealing with the aftermath of the shooting tragedy.

So Orlando changed everything about this Senate race, at least for these two men? That’s apparently what CLC is saying now. He emphasized in his statement yesterday he remains in the race — for now. Again, this will all be cleared up in the next few days, because the calendar demands that it be so.

In other news..

David Jolly will announce his plans to run in either the House or Senate tomorrow — anyone wanna bet that he actually stays in the Senate race?

Patrick Murphy introduces new legislation regarding the Zika virus.

Pat Kemp leads in the Democratic race for County Commission District 6.

The BOCC also took one step closer to preparing for the introduction of a high-speed ferry project being spearheaded by St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman. 

Senate District 18 Democratic candidate Bob Buesing clarifies his stance on the TBX project.

David Jolly, Kathy Castor and Vern Buchanan were among the members of the Florida delegation to get a disturbing update on the Zika virus in Washington.

Todd Wilcox continues his “Preserving Peace through Strength” tour today in Florida.

 

 

Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s atrociously timed conversation with Marco Rubio

That Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has agreed to withdraw from the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat if Marco Rubio decides to run for re-election to it is as surprising to see as it was to watch Al Cowlings chauffeur O.J. Simpson in a white Bronco.  Some men are just born to be second banana.

Yet the setting for the conversation between the two men where Lopez-Cantera offered to step aside is beyond cringeworthy.

As Politico’s Marco Caputo reported Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera and Rubio had their heart-to-heart “in the senator’s pickup truck about an hour before sunset, after witnessing the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.”

“This is bigger than me. And this isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s about our country and this election,” Lopez-Cantera said to Rubio, recounting the conversation for Politico. “It’s deeply consequential. … In the current field, I’m the best candidate in the general election. But I’m not looking at this through rose-colored glasses.”

Putting aside the question of who talks like that — “It’s deeply consequential” — to a close friend and the ridiculousness of Lopez-Cantera’s assertion that “I’m the best candidate in the general election,” how atrocious is it that the lieutenant governor of the state of Florida thought the most appropriate time to discuss the 2016 campaign was after just visiting the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country?

Law enforcement was still securing the crime scene. Trauma surgeons were still operating on a score of victims. An entire community and state were reeling.

And that’s when Lopez-Cantera thought it would be appropriate to say to Rubio, “Mind if I sit in your pick-up truck and talk to you about politics?”

Could CLC not have given it a day and scheduled a face-to-face with Rubio after they had left Orlando? It’s not as if Lopez-Cantera has a busy schedule.

Again, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lopez-Cantera would scoot over if Rubio wants to pass him.

But you don’t ask out a widow at her husband’s funeral.

You don’t ask to see the will while standing at someone’s deathbed.

And real leaders don’t talk campaigns and elections before driving away from the site of a mass shooting.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera won’t file to run for Senate if Marco Rubio decides to run again

Carlos Lopez-Cantera will not file to run for U.S. Senate if Marco Rubio decides to run for re-election.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera said he will get out of the race if Rubio, his longtime friend, were to decide to run for re-election.

“I have asked Sen. Marco Rubio to reconsider his decision and enter the Senate race. The decision is his and his alone to make,” said Lopez-Cantera in his email. “As friends for 20 years, this race is so much bigger than the two of us, and, as you have heard me say on the trail, this race isn’t about an individual, this race is about Florida and the future of our country.”

On Wednesday, Marc Caputo with POLITICO Florida first reported Lopez-Cantera encouraged Rubio to reconsider his decision.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this week, Rubio appeared to crack the door open to the possibility of another run. He said the mass shooting in Orlando, which left 49 people dead and more than 50 people injured, gives him “pause to think a little bit about … your service to our country and then where you can be most useful to your country.”

Rubio has also pointed to Lopez-Cantera and his decision to run as a reason for why he wasn’t considering jumping back into the race.

In his message to supporters Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera said he is “still in this race and nothing has changed.”

“However,” he continued, “if Marco decides to enter this race, I will not be filing the paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate.”

According to the Washington Post, Rubio told reporters he was rethinking his decision.

Rubio has until noon on June 24 to qualify for the U.S. Senate race.

 

Todd Wilcox releases national security and foreign policy proposal

Todd Wilcox rolled out his national security and foreign policy plan on Wednesday, saying the country needs to “examine the context” of the current foreign policy and national security strategy.

In his proposal, Wilcox said the nation should “first and foremost defend the homeland” from threats of Islamic terrorism. The country, he said, also needs to shield itself from the potential of strategic ballistic missile threats by rogue nations. The United States, he said, needs a “comprehensive foreign policy approach to ensure stability and avoid the need to go to war.”

On Tuesday, Wilcox kicked off a three-day campaign tour focused on national security. The tour had been in the works before the shooting in Orlando, where 49 people were killed and 53 people were injured.

The plan touches on steps Wilcox thinks the country should take to eliminate ISIS, how to build up a strategic missile defense system, and military force structure and modernization.

“A robust national security posture is only one side of the coin and is unsustainable if we do not have a long-term, comprehensive foreign policy,” said Wilcox in his proposal. “Our foreign policy needs to emphasize stability and influence instead of the ideologically driven concept of spreading democracy through failed policies such as regime change.”

Wilcox, a combat veteran and former CIA operative, is one of five Republicans running to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. Wilcox faces Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 primary.

On Wednesday, the Orlando Republican formally filed the paperwork to run for the seat.

“Now more than ever, we need experienced voices in Washington to protect and defend the American people from growing threats around the world and here at home,” he said in a statement. “This President and this Congress are failing to protect us from an enemy who lacks basic human decency, and if we don’t take this fight to them, they will continue to slaughter innocent Americans.”

 

Mitch Perry Report for 6.15.16 — What will Marco do?

Is Marco Rubio ready to do the (almost) unthinkable, and announce he will be running again for the U.S. Senate seat he renounced a year ago?

We’ll find out soon enough — the deadline to make such a decision is just nine days away.

The man who runs this website, Peter Schorschwrote last night a deal is in the works where Rubio’s Miami-Dade County ally, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, would drop out and announce he’s running for CFO in 2018. Dealing with CLC is important, since Rubio has made such an issue of their friendship. Well, Lopez-Cantera has sounded pretty contemptuous of all things Washington during his campaign for Senate, so it wouldn’t be a radical thing for him to say it works better for him to keep his current day job until 2018.

David Jolly would also drop out, while outsider candidates Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff would no doubt stay in the race. Wilcox told us yesterday Rubio’s entry back into the race would only magnify the difference between a career politician like Rubio and himself. It’s uncertain what Ron DeSantis might do.

Whether this is a great move by Rubio will be for others to decide. Personally, I think it’s a good move if it’s to be believed that Rubio aspires to run again for president in 2020. It seems to me much better to still be in the game (in Washington) than coming from the private sector (a la Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney).

Whether he can actually win in November is in dispute, but not that he would be the nominee.

That’d be a comeback, of sorts, if you consider how badly he was humiliated in the state’s March presidential primary, when he won all of one of Florida’s 67 counties.

In other news …

Tom Lee has finally made a decision regarding his political future in Hillsborough County.

Rick Baker has endorsed Rebecca Smith in the House District 60 contest.

Kevin Beckner raises more than $11K in his battle to dethrone Hillsborough Clerk of the Court Pat Frank.

Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks had the most robust month of fundraising in the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 contest last month, but he still trails two other Democrats in overall fundraising.

Boca Raton Democratic Representative Ted Deutsch says lifting the loophole that allows those on a terror watch list to still buy guns should be a priority in Congress in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

And the Tampa Bay business elite is calling on the Hillsborough County MPO to approve the TBX in its TIP next week.

 

CLC to CFO? Ron DeSantis to A.G.? It’s all in play if Marco Rubio runs for re-election

It’s the seemingly intractable problem of Florida politics these days, one that has eluded even the most savvy operators.

If Marco Rubio does jump back into the race for his U.S. Senate seat, how do you rearrange the chess pieces — at least the ones that matter — so everyone comes out a winner?

After weeks of saying he wouldn’t run for re-election, Rubio on Monday seemed to open the door to run again in 2016. When asked by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt if the shooting at an Orlando nightclub changed his decision, Rubio appeared to crack the door open to the possibility.

“I haven’t even given it a thought in that perspective other than to say that I’ve been deeply impacted by it, and I think when it visits your home state and impacts community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about … your service to our country and then where you can be most useful your country,” he said on the show. “We live in a very dramatic moment in our history.”

Rubio said he and his family were praying on the issue, and said they would be discussing how he could best serve. During the interview, Rubio also said a friend of his — Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera — was running for the seat.

Subsequently, Lopez-Cantera has been under tremendous pressure to scoot aside for Rubio.

The deadline to qualify for the 2016 ballot is Friday, June 24th.

“It’s like when you have to tell your best friend that he should break up with an ugly girlfriend,” said one former elected official close to Lopez-Cantera who has helped raise money for the LG. “You have to do it gently. You don’t just tell him his girlfriend is horrible.”

Two other sources who have raised considerable money for both Rubio’s presidential bid and Lopez-Cantera’s U.S. Senate campaign and/or super PAC tell FloridaPolitics.com that were CLC to withdraw from the race in time for Rubio to qualify for re-election, there would be considerable support for Lopez-Cantera were he to run in 2018 for the statewide post of Chief Financial Officer.

With CLC taken care of, what about the other candidates who have been running under the premise Rubio would not seek re-election?

U.S. Rep. David Jolly has already said he would withdraw.It’s likely he would run for re-election to his U.S. House seat. He has already received encouragement from some Tampa Bay area Republicans, including Sen. Jack Latvala, to run for re-election. If he runs for re-election, Jolly would face Democrat Charlie Crist.

Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox are both on record saying they will stay in the race regardless of what Rubio does. In fact, as first reported by FloridaPolitics.com, Wilcox launched his first television ad Tuesday.

That leaves Ron DeSantis.

While some have speculated he would simply run again for his congressional seat, the rumor du jour is that if Rubio runs for re-election, he will drop out and run for Florida Attorney General in 2018.

As he should, DeSantis campaign manager Brad Herold denies this.

“We’re not concerned with Washington insider chatter,” said Herold. “We’re focused on continuing to build the strongest campaign of any candidate in Florida.”

Herold didn’t say this, but DeSantis isn’t stupid. He’d move out of the way for Rubio. And while he’ll probably take a look at running again for CD 6, our sources say DeSantis is more interested in statewide office.

As for the actual chances of Rubio running, many Republicans assume it’s a foregone conclusion.

Oh sure, there will be some hemming and hawing about Rubio having to get the OK from his wife, but the real hesitation Rubio has is whether he can win in this election cycle with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

One Republican lobbyist, who has raised well into the six-figures for Rubio, says the senator has expressed to him “trepidation” against re-entering the race and losing because Trump motivates Democratic voters to turn out in waves.

“That’s what Marco is really hesitant about,” said the lobbyist.

 

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