Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera Has No Official Duties but Is Running for Senate Anyway

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who makes $124,000 a year even though he has no official duties as Gov. Rick Scott's lieutenant — per the Florida Constitution — officially announced that he's running for Marco Rubio's soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat. 

Lopez-Cantera, 41, made the announcement on his YouTube channel, where he says he still believes in the "America Washington has forgotten." 

He also uses Florida as an example of where families are flourishing under Scott's leadership, despite the fact that people are actually remaining poor while rent prices sky-rocket, particularly in Miami and in Fort Lauderdale

“The most important job I’ll ever have is as a husband to my wonderful wife Renee and as a father to our two beautiful girls,” he also says. “As a family, we’ve decided that I’m running for the U.S. Senate, so your kids and mine can continue to live in the kind of country that gave my family the blessings of liberty and freedom that only America offers.”

Lopez-Cantera replaced former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who stepped down over her connection to some controversial internet cafes, by Scott nearly a year after Carroll's departure. 

All that was really known of Lopez-Cantera at the time was that he was youthful, of Spanish decent, and became Florida's first-ever Hispanic lieutenant governor. His previous job had been as property appraiser for Miami-Dade County. He also spent some time in the Florida House, serving as the majority leader between 2010 and 2012.

But now, his sole official duty is to step in for the governor should the governor die or be somehow incapacitated, according to Florida's constitution. Other than that, he has no real official duties, though he has been spending $8,000 in tax money for weekly travels to his home in Miami. 

Meanwhile, New Times reported last week that the American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint against Lopez-Cantera with the Federal or his allegedly violating the Federal Election Campaign Act. The complaint alleges that the Lt. Gov. broke campaign rules when he stalled his official announcement for his Senate run just so he could collect more donations before those rules kicked in.  

Democrats in Florida are also pouncing on Lopez-Cantera's Senate run.

In a statement released after the announcement, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant said that Lopez-Cantera is a career politician who “built his career on lining the pockets of wealthy special interests and pandering to the most extreme fringe of the Republican Party — all at the expense of Florida’s middle class.”

In a separate statement, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Justin Barasky says that Lopez-Cantera "doesn't do his job and routinely stands with special interests instead of Florida families. With his entrance into the race, Republicans in Florida and Washington are forced to endure a primary battle that promises to be ugly, divisive and damaging to their already tenuous hold on this seat."

Lopez-Cantera joins Republican congressman Ron DeSantis in the race for the Republican nomination, as well as Democratic congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph