Using examples of how he eliminated waste on local and state governing boards, Senate candidate Carlos Beruff said he plans to spotlight inefficiencies on the federal level.
“You need people in Washington that are not career politicians, that know how to actually do things, not be led around by the nose by people that have never have done anything except be bureaucrats,” the Manatee County homebuilder said Thursday.
During an East Manatee Republican Club luncheon at the Peridia Golf & Country Club, Beruff, a Republican, spoke and fielded questions from attendees for about 20 minutes.
“Nobody can argue with people when you put a spotlight on waste and inefficiency because nobody wants to look stupid,” he said.
Beruff is one of five Republicans running to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate. The other candidates in the Aug. 30 primary are Reps. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis, Orlando area businessman Todd Wilcox and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
“The idea that government knows how to spend our money is a flawed premise, folks,” Beruff said. “They are incapable of it and that happens here. It happens in Washington a thousand times worse.”
Running for office is a way for Beruff to give back to the country that made it possible for him to be where he is today, he said.
“At least I have to try,” Beruff said. “If I try and fail, it is one thing. If I don’t try, then I have failed myself and that’s what I care about when I look in the mirror.”
When asked whether he supports Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, Beruff said he is “100 percent in his camp.”
“Do I agree with everything he says? Of course not, but I don’t agree with everything my wife says,” Beruff said. “I think he is a results-oriented person. He will go in there and he will absolutely not do the status quo that has been going on, not just for this administration. This has been going on for decades, folks. Decades of sending people that are amateurs, that have never done anything in their life to fix the biggest problems on the face of this planet. I don’t get how we can continue to do that. It is the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Beruff spoke as one of his opponents, Wilcox, chastised Beruff for skipping a political forum last week in South Florida attended by the other four candidates.
Beruff, who said he had a scheduling conflict, said his rivals are not “worth debating.”
Wilcox unleashed a torrent of criticism on Beruff Thursday morning, going so far as to question Beruff’s manhood in a lengthy open letter to Beruff titled “Man up.”
“I am a decorated combat veteran who has twice led men into battle in defense of your freedom and liberty. You see, where I come from, real men stand up and face their opponents with honor and integrity,” Wilcox wrote. “Next time you want to make excuses for hiding from Florida voters, keep your misguided estimation of my ‘worth’ to yourself.”
Beruff campaign spokesman Chris Hartline called Wilcox’s letter “just another desperate cry for attention from one of our opponents.”
“Carlos has traveled to all 67 counties in Florida meeting with voters, activists and local elected officials to talk about his message of bringing real change to Washington and will continue to do so,” Hartline said in a statement.
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reporter Kristen M. Clark contributed to this story.