Echoing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the man he wants to replace, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera called 2016 a “generational election” and called for change in Washington as he made his case to win a U.S. Senate seat.
Starting the speech with members of the crowd chanting “CLC,” an energetic Lopez-Cantera addressed the Republican Party of Florida’s (RPOF) Sunshine Summit in Orlando on Friday afternoon.
“2016 is all about Florida,” Lopez-Cantera said, insisting the stakes would be high in the Sunshine State next November.
Turning to his Senate campaign, Lopez-Cantera took aim at politicians based in Washington, D.C.
“I am the only person who can stand up to the broken system in Washington,” Lopez-Cantera said, noting politicians from both parties had gotten the nation into a mess. “I still believe in the United States of America that Washington has forgotten.”
Saying he was a “Florida Republican" and not a “Washington Republican," Lopez-Cantera contrasted how the federal government was run with how it was done in Tallahassee.
Lopez-Cantera showcased Gov. Rick Scott’s record and, while he did not mention them by name, called out GOP primary rivals U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla.
“They have the wrong perspective," Lopez-Cantera said. “The only perspective they have is in Washington and Congress.”
Keeping up that line of attack, Lopez-Cantera hit congressional Republicans for refusing to back conservatives in leadership and for playing up their conservative credentials but not backing up on votes.
Lopez-Cantera slammed President Barack Obama’s record on economics and international affairs and for ignoring the balance of powers.
“His idea of the three branches of government are me, myself and I,” Lopez-Cantera said about Obama before turning his fire to Democratic Senate candidates U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.
Lopez-Cantera compared Murphy to former Gov. Charlie Crist, Scott’s opponent in 2014.
“Patrick Murphy will be on every side of every issue, just like Charlie Crist,” Lopez-Cantera said. “Then there’s Alan Grayson, I don’t think anyone knows what to expect from that guy.”
Lopez-Cantera vowed he would be different if he is elected to the Senate. “I will bust my ass for Florida every day and be part of the solutions and not part of the problems," Lopez-Cantera promised. “I will stand for our Florida values and our conservative principles.”
Businessman and veteran Todd Wilcox is also running for the Republican nomination. Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and conservative leader Dan Bongino have opened the door to entering the Republican Senate primary.
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