With his friend and ally Marco Rubio running for a second term in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera bowed out of the Senate race on Wednesday morning.
Lopez-Cantera met with Rubio last week after the jihadist terrorist attack in Orlando and urged his friend to run for a second term. On Wednesday, with reports out that Rubio was running for reelection, Lopez-Cantera ended his Senate bid.
"I want to thank all of my supporters in this campaign, and I want to congratulate and thank Marco for his decision to pursue re-election to the U.S. Senate,” Lopez-Cantera said. “As his friend, I know this was a thoughtful yet difficult decision that was made with our country’s best interest at heart. Florida needs a principled conservative leader now more than ever, and that is what Marco has been and will continue to be. Additionally, as I previously stated, I will not file as a candidate in this U.S. Senate race, continuing my service as Florida’s lieutenant governor with Governor Scott focusing on Florida.
"I spent nearly a year on an incredible journey campaigning for this race and I know firsthand the investment of time, energy and resources that go into this, but this race is bigger than any one person,” Lopez-Cantera added.
Appointed lieutenant governor by Rick Scott after Jennifer Carroll resigned, Lopez-Cantera proved an effective surrogate for his boss on the campaign trail in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Lopez-Cantera was no stranger to Tallahassee, having served in the Florida House where he rose to become majority leader.
Lopez-Cantera is the second Republican to drop out of the primary contest as Rubio looked ready to enter the race after saying he would not run again. Congressman David Jolly bowed out last week to run for another term in the House. Congressman Ron DeSantis remains in but there are questions about what he intends to do. Businessman Carlos Beruff and businessman and Army veteran Todd Wilcox say they intend to remain in the race even with Rubio in the mix.
On Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera urged Beruff and Wilcox to drop out.
“It is critical for Florida, and for the future of our country, that a Republican with the ability to make a difference on the critical issues facing our state and nation wins this seat, and Marco has demonstrated that ability time and time again,” Lopez-Cantera said. “With that in mind, I encourage Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox to do what is right and unite behind Marco's reelection so we can ensure that we have the best candidate with the best ability to represent all of our families in the U.S. Senate.”