Rick Scott Draws Primary Challenger

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: May 14, 2013 3:30 PM
Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder

Elizabeth Cuevas Neunder

Rick Scott has yet to file for a second term for governor, but he’s already drawn a primary opponent -- Elizabeth Cuevas Neunder, founder and CEO of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commence of Florida, and a longtime Republican activist and candidate from Sarasota.

Neunder filed the paperwork to run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on Monday.

If the name rings a bell, Neunder had a moment in the national political spotlight during the 2012 presidential election. During a debate between the Republican presidential candidates at the end of January 2012 right before the Florida primary, Neunder demanded to know why the field was ignoring Puerto Ricans and asked about their position on Puerto Rico becoming a state. Rick Santorum attempted to answer the question, but Neunder said she was not happy with his response.

While her role in the debate was clearly her moment in the sun, Neunder has attempted to run for office before with little success. In 1998, she tried to stand in the way of Jeb Bush’s march towards the Republican nomination and, eventually, the governorship. After losing a contest for a Sarasota County School Board seat in 2004, Neunder was part of a crowded primary field bested by Doug Holder for an open state House seat. After Mel Martinez resigned his U.S. Senate seat, Neunder waged a campaign for then-Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint her to the vacancy.

At its website, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Florida makes some odd claims. “Thanks to a small dynamic board of directors they have accomplished more than any large Chamber of Commerce in the short time since inception,” the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commence of Florida claims about itself.

At the same site, Neunder claims to be “on the list for appoitment for Lt. Governor of Florida.” Based on her primary challenge to the incumbent governor, it’s safe to say that Scott will not appoint her to replace Jennifer Carroll.

While Neunder is unlikely to be able to take adavantage of it, polls taken earlier this year show a sizeable chunk of Republicans would be open to backing other candidates besides Scott for governor.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Tags: News, Politics

Comments (9)

7:38AM MAY 20TH 2013
rick scott needs some real republican to stand up and run against him.
no one knows what RS really is other than a flip flopping carpet bagger, who's only real aim is to divert as much public money as posiible to private interests so he has a job when he gets tossed in the next election.
10:09AM MAY 15TH 2013
Hey Alex Snitker, he said challenged in the primary. Just so you know, Libertarians and Democrats cannot run in the primary. Don't blame the author for your ignorance.
Alex Snitker
9:34AM MAY 15TH 2013
Another piece of shoddy journalism. There are already two other Republicans in the race not to mention 17 total candidates representing the Libertarian, Democrat and other parties. in case you did not know where to look go to the State of Florida Division of Elections website.

My support is going to Adrian Wyllie who is running for Governor of Florida as a Libertarian.
5:31PM MAY 14TH 2013
I am a Republican married to a beautiful woman of Puerto Rican descent, I hope Ms. Neunder is never elected. We need a governor with a track record of caring more about Florida and the United States (as a whole) rather than Puerto Rico specifically. Why do we have to be Puerto Rican, Irish, German, Cuban, Mexican, African, English, French, Spanish, or any other group? Why can't we just be Americans?
Benny Z
10:58PM MAY 18TH 2013
She is just another republican egocentric narcisist.
bob carpet
10:12AM AUG 15TH 2014
you are right
10:11AM MAY 15TH 2013
My feelings exactyl, EGM. Maybe Ms Neunder should run for Governor of Puerto Rico. . . .since that seems to be where her loyalty lies. We need a governor who is loyal to Florida.
Go Rick Scott!!
bob carpet
10:13AM AUG 15TH 2014
I totally agree
Felipe Matos
8:07AM MAY 15TH 2013
You are a rare republican. Good for you. I'm a democrat and my best friend and best man at my wedding is a republican. He voted his conscious last November and our candidate won. I agree. We need to be Americans!

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