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Republicans reach out to Lopez-Cantera, Bush Jr. to gauge interest in Ros-Lehtinen's seat

2 Carlos Lopez-Cantera 0621

The Republican Party reached out to at least two Miamians last week to gauge their interest in running for GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Jeb Bush Jr., the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The National Republican Congressional Committee spoke to both men in the days after Ros-Lehtinen, a 28-year House veteran, announced her retirement from the heavily Democratic 27th district, the Miami Herald has learned.

As Democrats lined up as potential candidates, Republicans have yet to find a good fit to run in 2018; a single well-known Republican, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, has said he's running.

Lopez-Cantera declined to comment Monday. Bush did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. 

The day Ros-Lehtinen retired, Lopez-Cantera said in a statement that he would "spend the next few days" discussing a possible candidacy with his family. Bush's father has been in the headlines recently as an interested buyer of the Miami Marlins baseball team.

Other Republicans whose names have been floated: state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, former Ros-Lehtinen chief of staff Art Estopiñán, state Sen. Anitere Flores, state Sen. René García, state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, former Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado, former County Commission Juan C. Zapata.

Photo credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald staff