Politics & Government

Lopez-Cantera out of U.S. Senate race, but still jabbing at Carlos Beruff

Carlos Lopez-Cantera is no longer running for the U.S. Senate, but that is not stopping him from continuing to attack one of his former GOP rivals who remains in the race.

At a meeting of Seminole County Republicans, the lieutenant governor and former Senate candidate ripped wealthy real estate developer Carlos Beruff for not being conservative enough and backing former Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate in 2010 after Crist left the Republican Party, a charge Beruff denies.

“This man is no conservative, this man is no Republican,” Lopez-Cantera said according to the Orlando Political Observer. “He is man driven by ego and self ambition and not by the principles we work hard for.”

Lopez-Cantera is good friends with Sen. Marco Rubio and dropped out of the Senate race last week to make way for Rubio, who changed his mind to seek re-election after saying for most of the last year that he would not run for re-election.

“Carlos Beruff supported Charlie Crist after he left the Republican party,” Lopez-Cantera told about 300 people, according to the Orlando Political Observer.

But in an interview last week about Crist, Beruff said he never supported Crist after he left the Republican Party in 2010 to instead run as an independent in the 2010 race. Campaign finance records show Beruff donated $4,800 to Crist in the U.S. Senate race in 2009, when Crist was still a Republican. When Crist dropped out of the Republican Primary and ran as an independent, Beruff never sent any other donations to Crist, Federal Election Commission records show.

“When Charlie Crist turned, I said ‘I’m outta here,'" Beruff said adding that Crist “got stupid” when he decided to go independent.

However, in 2010, Beruff was one of dozens of prominent donors who attended a fundraising event with Crist (when he was an independent) at the home of Siesta Key resident Gary Kompothecras. Beruff said while he was there, he never financially supported Crist after he turned.

Beruff’s campaign on Tuesday fired back at Lopez-Cantera for his comments and insisted Beruff is more conservative than Rubio.

“Just more lies from Marco Rubio and his team of political hacks,” said Chris Hartline, communications director for Beruff’s campaign. “It’s what career politicians do. Carlos is the most conservative candidate in this race. And if you want to talk about someone driven by ego and self ambition, look no further than Marco Rubio, who wants the people of Florida to pay him for his next run for President.”

Lopez-Cantera is not the only former Beruff rival weighing in on the race. Orlando-area businessmanTodd Wilcox, who also dropped out of the race last week, issued a statement accusing Beruff of "stalling" in reporting his personal finances. Beruff has requested and received an extension for filing his financial disclosure reports. That report was originally due in May, but Beruff has twice received extensions to push his filing to July 31. Beruff's campaign noted he entered the race in February and needed more time to perpare the documents.