Tags: GOP2016 | Marco Rubio | Florida | Marco Rubio | senate | Carlos Lopez-Cantera | Ron DeSantis

Ugly Fight Expected in Race to Replace Rubio in Senate

Image: Ugly Fight Expected in Race to Replace Rubio in Senate
Lieutenant Governor of Florida Carlos López-Cantera, R-Fla., left, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. (Joe Readle/Getty Images; U.S. Government/Office of Congressman Ron DeSantis)

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 11:11 AM

The race between the two top Republican candidates expected to run to replace Florida Sen. Marco Rubio could turn into an ugly fight.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Rep. Ron DeSantis, who already announced his candidacy, both come from two different camps in the party, Politico is reporting. 

DeSantis represents the conservative wing of the party, while Lopez-Cantera represents the establishment. The lieutenant governor is expected to announce his candidacy in a matter of weeks.

DeSantis has the support of conservative groups such as Jamestown Associates, the Senate Conservative Fund, and FreedomWorks, which are the same groups that supported Matt Bevin, the Kentucky Senate candidate who challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the midterms.

Enlisting such groups is reportedly angering Senate Republicans.

A source familiar with the inner workings of the Senate GOP told Politico that "many conservatives, many in the Senate are just not happy DeSantis has done this. There are some people who are ready to give dollar-for-dollar to make sure any advantage DeSantis gets from these groups will be wiped out."

However, at this point McConnell's team and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee have not officially endorsed either candidate. The filing deadline is about a year away, on May 2, 2016, and the primary is scheduled for Aug. 30 of the same year.

Barney Keller of Jamestown, who is the spokesman for DeSantis, said that "Congressman DeSantis is going to run his campaign based on his positive vision for Florida and America. Insiders attacking from the cover of anonymity simply want to see a Charlie Crist Republican as the nominee, which would be divisive for the party."

"Ron believes it is important to unite economic, defense and traditional conservatives so that the GOP can defeat the Democrats," Keller added.

Other candidates who may run to replace Rubio include Rep. Jeff Miller, former state Attorney General Bill McCollum, Rep. David Jolly, former Sen. George LeMieux and state Sen. Don Gaetz.

Rubio, before he announced his bid for the White House in April, said that if he decided to run for president he would not also run to be re-elected in the Senate.

McConnell said that he's "obviously not thrilled that Marco is not running again in Florida," but said that he thinks the Republicans "can hold Florida."

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The race between the two top Republican candidates expected to run to replace Florida Sen. Marco Rubio could turn into an ugly fight.
Florida, Marco Rubio, senate, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Ron DeSantis
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2015-11-08
Friday, 08 May 2015 11:11 AM
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