Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera today officially entered the 2016 election for U.S. Senate, confirming speculation that he'd seek to replace fellow-Republican Marco Rubio.
In response, Democrats and even members of the Far Right are lining up to take swipes at the former Florida House member.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, who's running for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat:
"With so many Republicans and former Republicans running for the Senate, it's hard to keep track, but I'd like to welcome Carlos Lopez-Cantera to the race. Given the Democratic registration advantage in Florida and the fact that Barack Obama won this state twice, candidates like them face a steep uphill climb.
"These Republicans and the former Republican all intend to cut Social Security and Medicare, side with Wall Street in exchange for dirty campaign dollars, and put Florida last. I look forward to putting my progressive platform for Florida up against them. The people of Florida deserve someone who represents them in the Senate better than Marco Rubio has, not someone who will vote just like he has."
"I look forward to a healthy exchange of ideas in this campaign. We need bold leaders who are willing to empower Florida's working families, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, stand up for our environment, and protect a woman's right to choose. I look forward to sharing my vision with the people of our state."
Allison Tant, Florida Democratic Party chair:
“Professional Tallahassee politician Carlos Lopez-Cantera has 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. Now, Rick Scott’s yes-man wants to take his self-serving brand of crony politics to the United States Senate, where he would do what career politicians always do in Washington: make thing worse.
“Unfortunately for Lopez-Cantera, he won’t be able to hide behind Rick Scott or his wealthy special interests funders when he hits the campaign trail and is forced to explain his disastrous record of putting politics and profits ahead of the people he supposedly serves.
“Lopez-Cantera supported cutting over a billion dollars from public schools and universities while hiking tuition. He voted to allow near-shore oil drilling and sponsored massive taxpayer handouts to some of Florida’s biggest corporations — including $3.2 billion Duke Energy fleeced from ratepayers. He whipped votes to pass a mandatory ultrasound bill, and even voiced enthusiastic support for bringing an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida, calling the measure 'common sense.’ And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
“When career politician Lopez-Cantera takes his extreme record of voting against the middle class on the road, he’s in for a rude awakening.”
Ken Cuccinelli, president of Senate Conservatives Fund, which already endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, in the Republican Senate primary:
"Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera is too liberal for Florida. Lopez-Cantera has supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, wasteful spending at the state level, and former Governor Charlie Crist’s budget that raised taxes by a whopping $2.2 billion. His support for big government is out of touch with Florida values and if he's elected, he will become part of the problem in Washington.
“Congressman Ron DeSantis has earned strong support from the grassroots in Florida for his principled leadership in Congress. DeSantis has repeatedly voted to defund Obamacare, fought to block President Obama's unlawful executive amnesty, and continually opposed wasteful government spending. Ron DeSantis is the only proven conservative in this race and we will do everything we can to help him win."
Justin Barasky, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director:
“Carlos Lopez-Cantera is a career politician who 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. Democrats have a strong candidate in Patrick Murphy who is running a great campaign, and we are confident that we will flip this seat to Democratic control in 2016.”
Katie Llewelan, press secretary at liberal PAC American Bridge:
"Florida's Lieutenant Governor Carlos 'Nothing to Do' Lopez-Cantera is officially running for the U.S. Senate, and he's touting his experience as LG to get him to DC.
"But what record does Lopez-Cantera have to point to since he's been serving Florida as LG?
"Well, there's costing Florida taxpayers $8,000 for weekly travel so he can spend his weekends at his home in Miami.
"And there's the $120,000 paycheck he plans to keep while he's running for Senate.
"Oh, and then there's the fact that Florida's constitution gives the lieutenant governor NO OFFICIAL DUTIES."