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GOP Seeks Strong Candidate to Replace Ros-Lehtinen

Image: GOP Seeks Strong Candidate to Replace Ros-Lehtinen
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 01 May 2017 10:01 AM

Republicans in Florida are looking for a strong, socially moderate candidate to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat after her announcement that she will retire from Congress. 

Finding a viable candidate that could win will be tough, since Ros-Lehtinen's 27th Congressional District is strongly Democrat, with Hillary Clinton carrying it by 20 percent in the presidential election, according to Politico

Ros-Lehtinen is the first Cuban-American to be elected to Congress. She will be retiring at the end of her term in 2018. She said that she was ready to move on, but told the Miami Herald she had "no doubt" that she would be reelected if she ran again.

The congresswoman is a Florida political icon, which has kept the seat out of the reach of Democrats, Politico notes.

Raquel Regalado, the former Miami-Dade County school board member, appears to be an early favorite of the GOP. She is a social moderate like Ros-Lehtinen and is the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. She said is strongly considering a run for the position.

"Will the Republican Party at a national level stand behind a moderate? That's the question. Will we continue to move to the right? Or is this an opportunity for the Republican Party at a national level to consider moderates as an option?" Regalado told Politico.

Anthony Bustamante, an occasional adviser to another potential candidate, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said, "It's possible Raquel fits the mold best… if she runs for this, she'll get support locally. But the NRCC has to make a calculated decision, whether to spend millions of dollars on a race that might not be winnable."

Among the Democrats, contenders are already lining up.

"Almost any Democrat in Miami will want to run for this seat. They're celebrating," David Custin, a Miami political consultant, said, adding, "Never underestimate Democrats' ability to screw up a two-car funeral."

David "DJ" Johnson, adviser to Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo said, "Every day, the district becomes more blue."

Former Rep. David Jolly, a Republican who lost his Florida congressional seat in 2016, told Politico that the outlook is poor for Republicans and Ros-Lehtinen's seat.

"Put a point on the board for the Democrats. This is not a district that Republicans win in an open seat in 2018."

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Republicans in Florida are looking for a strong, socially moderate candidate to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat after her announcement that she will retire from Congress.
GOP, candidate, ileana ros-lehtinen, retire
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2017-01-01
Monday, 01 May 2017 10:01 AM
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