As he gets ready to officially announce his U.S. Senate bid, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera meets with Chip LaMarca, Broward’s lone Republican County Commissioner today.
The two politicians will meet at 12:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location in Fort Lauderdale, according to Lopez-Cantera’s official schedule.
Lopez-Cantera announced earlier this month that he will officially launch his campaign July 15 -- after the campaign finance filing deadline for the current quarter. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach launched his campaign in May; U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Chumuckla is considering a bid. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced in March and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, may announce in July.
We asked LaMarca if he thinks Lopez-Cantera will ask him to head up his Broward campaign operation.
Lopez-Cantera would benefit from having LaMarca, a former Broward Republican Executive Committee chair, back his campaign. Although Broward has twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, the county can help GOPers win statewide races.
Broward, which has about 239,000 registered Republican voters, has the third-highest number in the state behind Miami-Dade with 358,000 and Hillsborough with 243,000 and a pinch ahead of Palm Beach with 236,000, according to state day as of May 31.
But Broward’s rapidly growing independent voters could also be at stake for Lopez-Cantera: Broward has 303,000 independent voters and 555,000 Democratic voters.
LaMarca, a former Lighthouse Point city commissioner, ousted Democratic County Commissioner Ken Keechl in 2010. Keechl had a much larger warchest, but faced criticism over his campaign spending on high-priced meals and other goodies before he even had a challenger. LaMarca won a rematch against Keechl in 2014.
LaMarca represents an east Broward district that leans left but has traditionally been thought of as the one Republican seat on the commission initially drawn for former state Sen. Jim Scott.