Carlos Lopez-Cantera Archives - Page 6 of 30 - Florida Politics

Red meat, speeches at West Nassau Reagan Day event

The barbecue at the Westside Republican Club Reagan Day BBQ was legit, if the reactions of those eating it were any indication.

Serving it up: politicians, including a number of candidates in Florida’s 4th Congressional District.

Red meat was on the menu, and in the speeches as well.

State Sen. Aaron Bean was predictably florid and emphatic, making the case of the urgency of the election to the grassroots.

“Let me ask you, Nassau,” Bean thundered. “How’s Obamacare working for you?

After contending Hillary Clinton would be a continuation of the last eight years, Bean got off the line of the day: “What is our federal government concerned with? Housing for illegal transgender aliens.”

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The big draws, in terms of speeches: Senate candidates Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Rep. Ron DeSantis, who delivered different messages in different styles.

Lopez-Cantera mentioned the political risk he took running with Rick Scott. “I didn’t run from Charlie Crist,” before launching into his familiar explanation of being a “Florida Republican,” where “we say we’re going to do something and we do it.”

“The Democratic Party is loaded for bear,” he said, declaring he’s “the only one who can beat them.”

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DeSantis, for his part, has refined his primary stump speech.

The Ponte Vedra Republican, who spoke 45 minutes after he was scheduled, sat somewhat patiently with his wife at a table at the front.

The room was half-empty by the time DeSantis spoke, but it didn’t faze him: he hit all of his marks.

There were jokes, such as the one he told of pulling out his House of Representatives voting card at dinner … but it was rejected because it was $19 trillion over the limit.

And a Whitman’s Sampler of familiar memes, from riffs about the email scandals of Clinton and Lois Lerner to dire warnings about Islamic Jihad and “Iran running roughshod over the Middle East.”

As well, his message about the importance of veterans was well-honed.

“The best monuments the country has to offer,” said DeSantis, are in the Arlington Cemetery, “a lot of small, white headstones.”

DeSantis and Lopez-Cantera were the only two senate candidates on hand.

GOP Senate candidates square off at South Florida forum

Several Republican U.S. Senate candidates squared off Thursday night in South Florida in hopes of catching fire in a nationally watched race in which none has risen above the pack.

Each talked more about his experience rather than attacking the others. Yet they did share the same wish — seeing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, along with whoever wins the Democratic Senate nomination, defeated come November.

The forum had been billed as the first to feature all five major Senate GOP candidates on the same stage, but developer Carlos Beruff backed out earlier in the day because of a scheduling conflict. All are battling for the seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Marco Rubio.

That left Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, businessman Todd Wilcox and Congressmen David Jolly and Ron DeSantis to make their cases before a large crowd inside a Marriott hotel ballroom in Boca Raton.

Lopez-Cantera described himself as a “Florida Republican and not a Washington, D.C., Republican” because he and Gov. Rick Scott have teamed up to cut taxes, brought millions of jobs to the state and paid down the state debt.

“When we say we are going to do something, we deliver,” Lopez-Cantera said. “It’s not about red-meat rhetoric; it’s about results.”

DeSantis, who has declined his congressional pension, criticized the culture of “crony capitalism” in Washington and pledged to push for term limits for those serving in Congress.

He promised to repeal President Barack Obama‘s health care law and rid the economy of government regulations and bureaucratic red tape. “Our own government is shooting our economy in the foot,” he said.

Wilcox pitched himself as an outsider who said Washington has too many career politicians and that he would bring his “real world experience” as a former Green Beret, CIA officer, and businessman to the Senate.

“I’m the only one with real-world experience,” he said. “I’m running out of frustration, not aspiration.”

He said Washington needs a return to “citizen government” and needs to kick out career politicians by imposing term limits and banning lawmakers for life from becoming lobbyists.

Jolly, a fifth-generation Floridian and son of a preacher, spoke of his experience in Congress as a plus, saying Senate candidates must have “a vision for governing — not for rhetoric.”

Elected in a special election in 2014, Jolly spoke of his achievements in Congress to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, the federal flood insurance program and Congress. “This is a job interview, so let’s get someone” who can do the job, he said.

Jolly gained national attention recently when he was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes” promoting the “Stop Act,” a bill he’s championing that would prohibit members of Congress from directly soliciting campaign contributions.

The GOP primary is Aug. 30, but the race remains wide open with no clear frontrunner. In the Democratic contest, the two major contenders are Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month found that at least one in five likely voters was undecided about the Senate contenders.

The race is a worrisome one for the national Republican Party because a loss could mean losing control of the Senate.

So concerned was the GOP last week that Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asked Sen. Rubio to reconsider running for re-election. Even presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump chimed in last week when he tweeted “Run Marco!”

Rubio chose not to run last year after embarking on his unsuccessful presidential run. He suspended his campaign March 15, the same night he lost the Florida primary to Trump.

Thursday night’s forum was organized by America First, led by Margi Helschien, a political consultant and former vice chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party.

Joe Henderson: Florida Republicans just can’t let go of Marco Rubio

When it comes to Marco Rubio, Florida Republican Party leaders are starting to sound like a jilted lover that can’t quite let it go.

They ignore that Rubio was beaten soundly by Donald Trump in 65 of the state’s 66 counties in the Florida Primary, causing him to drop out of the presidential race. They ignore that he has repeatedly trashed his job as a senator in both word and deed.

They ignore a recent Quinnipiac poll that showed 49 percent of Floridians disapprove of his performance while only 42 percent approve. They’re willing to look past his stumbles on the presidential campaign trail, especially the way Chris Christie made him look foolish and ill-prepared during the New Hampshire primary.

None of this seems to matter.

They are practically crawling to Rubio, all but begging him to change his mind and run for re-election to his seat in the U.S. Senate after he repeatedly said he wouldn’t. Given his serious and considerable baggage, the fact that they see Rubio as their champion says a lot about what they think of their chances to keep that seat in the GOP column.

And while Rubio’s words say “no, no, no” his actions say, “um, maybe … if you ask me real nice.”

For instance, he told CNN he might consider changing his mind if his good friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera wasn’t in the race.

“I think he’s put in time and energy to it and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it,” Rubio said.

Of course, friendship didn’t stand in the way of running against Jeb Bush for president. That friendship was strained, too; after he dropped out, Bush refused to endorse Rubio, even after pushing for him to be the vice president for Mitt Romney in 2012.

And while he was still in the campaign, Bush told The Washington Post, “Let me ask you, what has (Rubio) accomplished? What has he done in his life that makes you think he can make the tough calls, develop strategy?”

Good question.

What has Rubio accomplished, other than express disdain for the job he was elected to do? He has name recognition, sure, but as the Quinnipiac poll shows that can cut both ways.

None of that apparently matters to Republicans casting a longing eye in Rubio’s direction. Maybe it should.

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Joe Henderson has had a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also including hard news. The two intertwined in the decade-long search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. Henderson was also City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. He served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. Henderson has numerous local, state and national writing awards. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and has two grown sons – Ben and Patrick.

Carlos Beruff’s plan to reform Washington includes term limits, lobbying bans

Carlos Beruff has a plan to reform Washington.

On Wednesday, Beruff released a 10-point proposal he says will “end government greed.” The proposal includes instituting a lifetime ban on federal lawmakers from becoming lobbyists; tying congressional pay to the percentage of votes cast or missed; and repealing automatic pay raises for members of Congress.

“Our representatives don’t represent us anymore. Politics has become an industry and our elected officials have become career politicians instead of public servants,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “The result is a government that’s too big, too corrupt and too greedy. We need to change the culture in Washington. We need leaders who are citizen legislators and who believe in public service above all else.”

One way to reform the system, Beruff said, is by enacting term limits. In his proposal, Beruff said he believes term limits — 12 years for a member of the Senate and 8 years for a member of the House — should be in place for members of Congress.

“Our presidents are limited to two terms, and 36 states have term limits on their governors, including Florida,” states his plan. “It is crazy not to hold Congress to the same standard.”

Another part of the proposal would be to institute a policy where members of Congress, the president and the cabinet are not paid if they cannot “produce and enact a budget.”

“If Congress fails to meet the deadlines needed, its pay and travel allowances should be immediately revoked,” states the plan. “Likewise, if the president does not submit a budget by the deadline in the law, as President Obama has refused to do for seven years, then the president and members of the executive branch should have their pay withheld, and their travel allowances withheld.”

Also proposed: Reducing the federal government’s civilian workforce by 20 percent; requiring a supermajority to pass tax increases; passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and ending the practice of “catch-all’ spending bills.

“Some of these reforms may be controversial and you can bet that the political class in Washington will say that they’re extreme or unrealistic,” said Beruff in a statement. “But the people of Florida know that we need bold ideas and real change in Washington, not more of the same. Put simply, we need to bring accountability to government. These 10 steps will do that.”

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

 

Palm Beach Atlantic University to host GOP Senate debate

Get ready for a Republican Senate debate.

On Wednesday, Palm Beach Atlantic University announced it planned to host a televised GOP debate on Aug. 23. The debate — which is being organized by the LeMieux Center for Public Policy and the Palm Beach County Young Republicans — comes just one week before the primary.

“The importance of this debate is to give Floridians an opportunity to get to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues, and what better place than right here at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where leadership and service are the core of its mission,” said former Sen. George LeMieux in a statement.

The debate will be held at the Rubin Arena at the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation at Palm Beach Atlantic University. WPEC-CBS 12 will televise the debate, as well as other broadcasters across the state.

“We are proud to bring this debate to viewers across the state, on-air and online, so voters can make an informed decision in the primary,” said Michael Pumo, the general manager of WPEC.

Five Republicans — Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox — are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

In a statement Wednesday, a spokesman for the Beruff campaign said it was reviewing invites as they come in, but hasn’t “committed to that event as of yet.” Spokesmen for Jolly and Wilcox said both men plan to attend the debate.

In a statement, a spokesman for DeSantis said the campaign has not “confirmed participation in any debates yet,” but the campaign looks “forward to Floridians learning about Ron DeSantis’s proven conservative record.”

All five candidates are expected to appear together at a forum in Boca Raton on Thursday.

Mary Ann Mancuso, the president of Palm Beach County Young Republicans, said the partnership with her organization and the LeMieux Center for Public Policy recognizes “the importance millennials will play in this upcoming election cycle.”

“This race is an important one for our state as we continue work toward our shared vision for a better tomorrow,” she said in a statement.

The race to replace Rubio is one of the most closely watched Senate races this election cycle. While some Senate Republicans have urged Rubio to run for re-election, Rubio has repeatedly said he will not run for re-election.

But according to a statewide survey by Associated Industries of Florida, Rubio was the best bet for Republicans in the U.S. Senate race. In a hypothetical matchup between Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, Rubio would receive 49 percent to Murphy’s 41 percent.

That same survey found Murphy defeated all of the current Republican candidates in hypothetical head-to-head matchups.

Murphy faces Alan Grayson in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera super PAC highlights Marco Rubio’s support

The fundraising committee backing U.S. Senate hopeful Carlos Lopez-Cantera is assuring his supporters the lieutenant governor has the backing of Marco Rubio.

In an email to supporters Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Reform Washington, the super PAC backing Lopez-Cantera, said Rubio “put the rampant rumors that he was reconsidering running for his Senate seat to rest.”

The email then pointed to several recent articles, including a story by Heatstreet contributor Sarah Rumpf, that said Rubio was making fundraising calls for Lopez-Cantera. According to the Heatstreet report, “Rubio was on a phone call with major donors Friday morning to urge them to support” Lopez-Cantera.

According to the report, both Rubio and Lopez-Cantera were on the call.

On Thursday, Marc Caputo with POLITICO said Rubio told reporters earlier in the day that Republicans “need to make sure we get behind the right candidate in the primary to win. I think Carlos Lopez-Cantera is a very good candidate.”

The memo to supporters also points out Rubio hosted a fundraiser for Lopez-Cantera earlier this month.

Federal campaign reports show Reform Washington has raised more than $1 million since January 2015. Lopez-Cantera, reports show, has raised $1.03 million since July 2015.

Lopez-Cantera faces Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

According to a statewide survey by Associated Industries of Florida, Rubio remains the best bet for Republicans in the U.S. Senate race. In a hypothetical match-up between Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, Rubio would receive 49 percent to Murphy’s 41 percent.

The same survey found Murphy would defeat Lopez-Cantera 42 to 31 percent in a head-to-head matchup. Murphy, who many believe will get the Democratic nomination, came out on top in all of the hypothetical matchups in the Associated Industries’ survey.

Internal poll shows Carlos Beruff slightly ahead

Carlos Beruff may have a slight edge over his Republican opponents, but the race for U.S. Senate still appears to be flying largely under the radar.

According to internal polling being circulated by the Beruff campaign, the Manatee County Republican is at 17 percent support. He is virtually tied with Rep. David Jolly, who garnered 16 percent in the survey.

Rep. Ron DeSantis followed the two men with 9 percent; Todd Wilcox with 5 percent; and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera with 3 percent. The poll showed 50 percent of the 800 likely Republican primary voters surveyed did not indicate a preference.

In a memo to supporters, Beruff’s campaign said the poll showed Beruff is “gaining traction and is now leading the five-way race.” It goes on to say “primary voters are demanding new leaders from outside the political ranks.”

According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents agreed that it was time to “send new leaders to Washington who are not part of the political establishment.”

The poll also found 78 percent of respondents saying they were more likely to vote for Beruff because he supports temporarily banning immigration from Middle Eastern countries “until the federal government adopts thorough policies to screen out potential terrorists.”

The poll surveyed 800 likely GOP voters and was conducted by telephone from March 23 through 25. It has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.

The Republican primary is Aug. 30.

 

Carlos Beruff checks 67 counties off his list

Carlos Beruff can check all 67 counties off his to-visit list.

The U.S. Senate hopeful said Tuesday he would wrap up a tour of all 67 Florida counties. The Manatee County businessman had said he planned to visit all of the state’s counties before the Aug. 30 primary.

“It is important to visit with people from all across this great state, many of whom feel ignored by our elected officials,” he said in a statement. “That’s why I committed to visiting all 67 Florida counties in the first three months of my campaign and why I’ve committed to visiting all 67 counties every year as your U.S. Senator.”

Beruff was scheduled to be in North Florida and Sarasota on Tuesday. He is one of five Republicans vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

He faces Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox in the August Republican primary.

“Voters all across this state are fed up with the status quo in Washington, and I’m committed to bringing real change to the U.S. Senate,” said Beruff.

 

Carlos Beruff campaign says he will stay in U.S. Senate race ‘no matter what’

Marco Rubio might be getting pressure to run for re-election, but that doesn’t seem to bother some U.S. Senate hopefuls.

Five Republicans — Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff, and Todd Wilcox — are battling it out to replace Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio, who unsuccessfully ran for president this year, has said he plans to go into the private sector when his term ends. However, he’s been getting pressure to run for re-election from Republicans who are worried about losing the seat. According to CNN, Rubio responded “maybe” when asked if he would consider running if Lopez-Cantera, his close friend, wasn’t running.

“Look, I have a real good friend I’ve known for a long time who I was running for the Senate with; I didn’t run. I said I wasn’t going to. He got into the race,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I think he’s put in time and energy to it, and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it.”

Courtney Alexander, a spokeswoman for Lopez-Cantera’s campaign, said the lieutenant governor is focused on winning the seat.

“It looks like the press needs a narrative going into Memorial Day Weekend,” she said in a statement. “Carlos Lopez-Cantera is focused on winning this Senate seat, and Sen. Rubio has been supportive of Lopez-Cantera’s candidacy. I’ll let that speak for itself.”

Talk about the possibility of Rubio entering the race doesn’t seem to faze a few Senate candidates.

“We’re not concerned with D.C. chatter,” said Brad Herold, DeSantis’ campaign manager. “We’re focused on continuing to run the strongest campaign of any candidate in Florida.”

Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Beruff, said Beruff “is staying in this race no matter what.”

“Marco Rubio made the right decision in 2010 when he refused to get pushed out of the race by the power brokers in Washington,” he said in a statement. “As usual, Washington Republicans think they can control the race, but the voters of Florida will decide who our nominee is, and we feel confident about where we are.”

And Wilcox isn’t budging either.

“As a conservative, I have no intention of leaving this race just because another career politician gets in, especially one who fought for amnesty for illegals and oversaw tax increases as a city commissioner,” he said in a statement.

On Friday, Alex Leary with the Tampa Bay Times reported Jolly said he would withdraw from the race if Rubio gets in.

“I would withdraw from the Senate race and support Rubio for re-election,” said Jolly in a statement Friday afternoon.

Republicans aren’t the only ones weighing in on the Rubio speculation. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who faces Rep. Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary, said no matter what Rubio decides the race will be “about the people of Florida.”

“No matter what Marco Rubio decides, this race won’t be about him — it will be about the people of Florida, and that’s why I’m sure we will win in November. For years Floridians have been disappointed by Marco Rubio’s complete disinterest in the job they elected him to do,” he said in a statement. “Floridians know his record of missing votes, flip-flopping on immigration reform, and fighting against women’s health care. The voters are ready for a Senator who will wake up every day focused on fighting for them.”

Donald Trump urges Marco Rubio to re-enter race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat

Donald Trump is pushing for Marco Rubio to re-enter the U.S. Senate seat he is scheduled to depart in January.

In a tweet sent Thursday evening, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee called on his former bitter rival to get back into the contest.

Trump’s statement is just the latest indication of how concerned Republicans are that they are increasingly concerned about the fate of the 2016 senate race, where no Republican has broken out of the pact despite months of campaigning.

Democrats (including President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid) have put all their chips behind Jupiter Representative Patrick Murphy in his primary against Orlando area Congressman Alan Grayson. But Murphy has been suffering from a surfeit of negative news coverage over the past few weeks, yet none of the Republicans appear as of yet to be poised to take advantage of his vulnerabilities.

Top GOP senators on Capitol Hill aren’t being very subtle in calling on Rubio to get back into the race.

“Marco Rubio is a very valuable member of the Senate … and earlier this afternoon, I strongly encouraged him to reconsider his decision and seek re-election,” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said Thursday.

And CNN quoted Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker,  chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as saying that the prospect of Rubio running for re-election is “certainly within the realm of possibility.”

“It is a very real development,” Wicker added.
Rubio again repeated on Thursday that it is “unlikely” that he’ll get back into the contest, which has led some to speculate that such a statement gives him some wiggle room to get back into the contest. But that would seem unlikely with his all but official endorsement of his friend and political ally, Florida Lieutenant Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
Rubio announced his candidacy for president 15 months ago in Miami. He said at that time that he would not run for reelection. That was different than Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who like Rubio was elected in the Tea Party surge of 2010. He has steadfastly maintained that he would not get back into the contest. Paul is running for reelection to maintain his seat this year.
In addition to Lopez-Cantera, the other GOP candidates include congressmen David Jolly and Ron DeSantis, former military veteran and defense contractor Todd Wilcox, and private developer Carlos Beruff.
The bitter fissure between the Rubio and Trump appears to be ending, as the party begins to embrace their new and unlikely standard bearer.
On Thursday, Rubio said in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper that, if asked, he would speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention in July. “Certainly, yeah. I want to be helpful,” Rubio told Tapper.
Rubio  still has time – the deadline to enter the contest is June 24.
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