Governor vs. Lt. Governor for U.S. Senate? Let the battle begin!

Too early to be thinking about Florida’s coming U.S. Senate race? Evidently not for our current heads of state in Tallahassee. This is going to be one interesting Republican primary if both the current possible contenders enter the race. We are talking about Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Our governor cannot run for reelection. So he must decide between retiring from public office or find a new elected position to fill. He, naturally, hasn’t indicated what he plans on doing when his term as governor expires. But considering his love of public office, evidently far more desirable than the corporate world, it would suggest that he would want to run for public office again.

When asked if he was considering a run for the Senate he said that he has a job and will keep working as governor. He said he was just reelected and has a responsibility to the residents of Florida. But he is spending money on surveys, political consulting and researching Hispanic politics. So far the Miami Herald reports that he has spent almost a quarter of a million dollars, of his own money, on projects that point to a run for the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, speculation is making the rounds that Lt. Governor Lopez-Cantera, in the job for only 18 months, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate. In other words a future run against his current boss. His big dilemma is how does he support the actions of the governor, as lieutenant governor and at the same time convince the voting public that he can do a better job in the Senate than the governor?
Backroom meetings between the governor and the lieutenant governor in the coming months should be very interesting. I can hear it now:

“You are a better governor than I could be, Gov. Scott, but I will make a better Senator than you could ever be.” In retort: “Man, I gave you the lieutenant governor’s job and that is how you thank me, running against me?”

Lopez-Cantera doesn’t have to resign from his $125,000 job. Resigning from office really wouldn’t hurt the residents of Florida. We went without one for 11 months and no one noticed. The lieutenant governor doesn’t have much of a job; it is just required by the state constitution that in the event the sitting governor is removed from office, or is physically or mentally incapable of holding office. The problem with having a do-nothing job is you can’t take credit for anything you did because you didn’t do anything. This might be a good time for Lopez- Cantera because he could say that he so strenuously objected to the governor’s line item veto of so many items that would have benefited the residents of Miami-Dade that he had to resign from office and come home to Miami.

This might give him a leg up in the most populous county in Florida when primary time arrives.

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott is looking over the potential field of possible Republicans that might consider the race. He is smart in putting his money to work examining the prospect of a race. Important to him will be the size of the Hispanic vote who might favor a Hispanic candidate from Coral Gables as the next Republican candidate in the run for the United States Senate.

Gov. Scott has a lot of baggage left over from his days as president of Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America. This didn’t seem to haunt him when he ran for governor. But, it will come back when he is considered for an elected position in Washington, DC, where the subject of Medicare fraud is a big topic of conversation.

This will be an interesting race to follow for Democrats and a difficult choice for those that have an “R” on their voter registration cards who must decide who will be the next Republican candidate in the general election for the U.S. Senate.

We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to Kenneth.Bluh@ColumbusCL.com. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.


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About the Author

Kenneth Bluh
Kenneth has been writing a column for Community Newspapers since 1989 when he first wrote about the incorporation movement in UMSA (Unincorporated Municipal Services Area). His columns cover the political scene in Miami-Dade and Tallahassee. Educated at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Kenneth has been a member of the banking/mortgage lending profession in Florida since 1962. Contact him at kbluh@americanbsm.com or 786-247-0547 where he manages American Bancshares Mortgage LLC’s Reverse Mortgage Department.

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