Republican candidate Rhonda Rebman Lopez is targeting special interest groups in her first TV ad of the 2020 cycle as she competes for the open seat in House District 120.
The district covers Monroe County as well as parts of southern Miami-Dade County. Lopez references that geography to begin the ad.
“My family’s been fishing in Keys waters for 50 years, which is why I’m proud to call this paradise ‘home,'” Lopez says, indirectly responding to critiques Lopez played carpetbagger to run in the district.
“I know how important it is to protect our way of life, protect our environment and our small businesses. And I’ll carve up the special interests in Tallahassee trying to destroy our quality of life with over-development and congestion.”
Of course, special interests are in the eye of the beholder.
Lopez has been far and away the best fundraiser in the contest and one of the best in the entire state. Some of that cash has come from lobbyists and other interest groups.
The high-powered Ballard Partners firm donated $1,000 to Lopez in October, as did Ronald Book. Book’s consulting firm pitched in another $1,000 as well. Multiple political PACs have also contributed to the Lopez campaign, as have several businesses based in South Florida, such as Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, Tri-Tech Construction and multiple auto dealerships.
Lopez has raised $230,000 in outside money and pitched in $35,000 in self-loans. She has nearly $220,000 remaining in her war chest. Islamorada Councilman and former Mayor Jim Mooney has placed second in the race, adding nearly $100,000, $1,000 of which came from Ballard as well. He retains close to $86,000 in cash on hand.
While Lopez has courted the cash, Mooney has earned the establishment support. Rep. Holly Raschein, who is vacating HD 120 due to term limits, has endorsed Mooney as her preferred successor. Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, whose Senate District 39 covers much of the same territory as HD 120, is also backing Mooney.
Lopez argues voters should ignore those signals and turn to her instead.
“It’s time for a straight-talking businesswoman who will fight for you.”
Also competing in the GOP primary is attorney Alexandria Suarez. Clint Barras is the only Democrat who has qualified, meaning he’ll take on the winner of the GOP primary in November.