Carlos Lopez-Cantera Archives - Page 4 of 30 - Florida Politics

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.

 

Todd Wilcox talks about eliminating ISIS in first campaign advertisement

Todd Wilcox released his first campaign advertisement Tuesday. The 30-second web spot — called “Eliminating ISIS” — coincides with a statewide tour focused on national security.

“Terrorists have brought this fight to American soil and it’s time we get serious about eliminating ISIS once and for all,” he said in a statement. “ISIS can be defeated, but it’s going to require American leadership and a real strategy to win.”

In the advertisement, Wilcox is shown saying the nation should use “every pillar of American power to destroy ISIS.”

“ISIS can be defeated, but it requires American leadership and a real strategy to win,” he said in the spot.

Wilcox is one of five Republicans running for U.S. Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio. Wilcox faces Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 primary.

On Tuesday, he kicked off a three-day campaign swing to talk about national security. The campaign tour had been in the works for several weeks, but Wilcox, a combat veteran and former CIA case officer, said the events in Orlando bring the issue of national security into the forefront of discussions.

 

Todd Wilcox urges action to deal with ISIS

For Todd Wilcox, the Orlando shooting hit close to home.

He lives 15 miles south of the nightclub where 49 people were killed, and 53 more were injured early Sunday morning. His youngest daughter, now seven years old, was born at the hospital across the street. His oldest daughter, a 23-year-old recent graduate, lives near Lake Eola, where a vigil was held Sunday night to honor the victims.

“It was just gut wrenching to see what happened,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox is one of five Republicans running for U.S. Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio. On Tuesday, he’ll kick off a three-day campaign swing to talk about national security. The campaign tour had been in the works for several weeks, but Wilcox said the events in Orlando bring the issue of national security into the forefront of discussions.

“Orlando represents the largest single terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 and the single largest mass casualty shooting,” said Wilcox during a stop in Fort Myers on Monday. “Whether it’s inspired or directed, it really doesn’t matter. The root cause is ISIS.”

Wilcox, a combat veteran and former CIA case officer, said the shooting should act as a wake-up call that the “political leadership is failing in America.”

“We have to take this war to the enemy, and I really think we need to go after them,” he said. “We need to declare war on ISIS, and use every pillar of American power to destroy this enemy.”

Wilcox has already put forth several suggestions to combat ISIS. Following the November 2015 attacks in Paris, Wilcox outlined a plan to take action to eliminate ISIS. That proposal included leading a coalition of Middle Eastern countries to create a standing army of 200,000 conventional troops to “destroy and occupy ISIS-controlled territory” in Syria and Iraq. It also called on the United States to provide command and control, intel, and support for the coalition’s efforts.

Wilcox said the United States can use its cyber power to shut down ISIS’ “cancerous social media marketing machine,” and use the United States’ economic power to cut off revenue streams. But he also said allies in the Middle East need to step up and begin to “take back their religion.”

“The Arab world has got to wake up. There has to be a reformation in Islam. They need to take back their religion,” he said. “I’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies in the Middle East in combat, and know there are a lot of people in the Middle East, Muslims, that want the same things for their kids that we want for our kids.”

Wilcox said the country did not need to ban Muslims — or people from countries with a terrorist connection — from entering the United States.

Wilcox said he thinks there was a notion that “people are feeding on the fear” that people have right now. He acknowledged it is a “legitimate fear,” but said banning Muslims from entering the United States “is not a feasible proposal.”

Wilcox faces Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary. He said he has spent the past several months traveling the state, and said his message is resonating with voters.

“I’m encouraged by the feedback I get when the message gets out there,” he said. “I’m running out of desperation and frustration, not aspiration.”

Email Insights: Carlos Lopez-Cantera calls on nation to stand up to radical terrorism

Carlos Lopez-Cantera urged the nation to work together to stand up to “radical terrorism.”

In an email to supporters Monday, the lieutenant governor called the shooting at an Orlando nightclub an act of terrorism, and said it was a sober reminder that “terrorists will not think twice about coming after the United States.”

“We must work as a nation to completely and wholly eradicate ISIS and the evil they stand for,” said Lopez-Cantera, one of five Republicans running for the Senate. “We as a nation must stand up to the radical terrorism that threatens our way of life, we as a nation must come together to have hope in a horrible time, and we as a nation must pray for Florida.”

Lopez-Cantera told supporters he spent time in Orlando on Sunday and Monday with Gov. Rick Scott, and said the “sense of community and love we are seeing is proof that we are a resilient people.”

“The acts of selflessness in Orlando have been truly remarkable, from over 1,500 in line to donate blood to volunteers handing out water,” he said. “This community, state and country is showing the world that we refuse to be intimidated into changing our lives because of a cowardly act of evil.”

He went on to call the law enforcement officers “true heroes,” and said their “bravery must be commended.”

Lopez-Cantera faces Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox in the race Aug. 30 Republican primary. All five are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

Todd Wilcox to focus on national security during statewide tour

Todd Wilcox will focus on national security during a three-day campaign swing through the state later this week.

Wilcox, one of five Republicans running for U.S. Senate, announced Monday he plans to discuss national security issues on his three-day “Preserving Peace through Strength” campaign swing. The statewide tour will come just days after 49 people were killed and more than 50 were injured in a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

In a statement Monday, the Orlando Republican said campaign tour was part of a “previously scheduled series of events.”

“As we approach this historic election, we must examine the context of our current U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy within which our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are serving,” he said. “The unspeakable act of terror in my hometown this weekend remains on the forefront of concern this week for all of us and my hope is that this previously scheduled series of events serves as an opportunity to have thoughtful dialogue with veterans, GOP activists, community leaders, concerned Floridians and business owners about the impact our nation’s foreign policy has on our safety and security here at home.”

Wilcox is a combat veteran and former CIA case officer. He is one of two veterans, along with Rep. Ron DeSantis, hoping to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Carlos Beruff are also running. The Republican primary is Aug. 30.

Wilcox kicks off the statewide tour Wednesday with stops in Tampa and Pensacola. On Thursday, he’ll attend a breakfast in Pensacola, before traveling to Tallahassee and Amelia Island. He’ll spend the final day of the tour in Jacksonville.

 

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