When will the shutout streak end for Florida lieutenant governors?

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (right) and Florida’s 10 previous lieutenant governors.

Since Florida re-established the office of lieutenant governor in 1969, the job has been a political dead end.

Eight men and two women have held the job before current Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. None has gone on to win another elected office.

And the streak probably won’t be broken soon.

Lopez-Cantera announced Sunday that he will not run next year to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, or for any other office in 2018.

“I am honored and grateful to all who have encouraged me to run for Congress but, after thoughtful consideration and deliberation with my family, we have decided that being a candidate in 2018 is not what’s best for our family,” Lopez-Cantera said.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, (left) and Sen. Marco Rubio at a 2016 Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch a few weeks before Lopez-Cantera dropped his Senate bid to make way for Rubio to seek re-election. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

“Beyond 2018, I look forward to spending even more time with my wife and two daughters while remaining involved in the greater Miami-Dade community, helping job creators be more successful, citizens be more empowered, and government be more efficient and accountable. There is still a lot of work to be done and I will continue to look for ways to be part of the solution — I may run for office again but not in 2018.”

Lopez-Cantera seemingly has a bright future if he decides to run in 2020 or beyond. He’s only 43, bilingual and has been seasoned in Florida’s largest media market, where he won elections for state House and for Miami Dade property appraiser.

Lopez-Cantera ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 but dropped out when his friend, Sen. Marco Rubio, decided to seek re-election after quitting the presidential race.

Florida had a lieutenant governor from 1865 to 1889, when a constitution change abolished the office. Nearly a century later, a 1968 constitution change re-established the office.

Here’s a brief look at Florida’s lieutenant governors in the modern era and their political fortunes:

Ray Osborne (1969-71): Appointed by Republican Gov. Claude Kirk in 1969 after a constitution revision reestablished the office, he ran for Senate in 1970 but dropped out of the race before the GOP primary. Originally from the St. Petersburg area, Osborne settled in Boca Raton in the 1970s and practiced law. He died in Boca Raton in 2011.

Tom Adams (1971-75): Running mate of Democratic Gov. Reubin Askew, he was censured by the state House in 1973 after it was reported that he used state employees in his private business. After Askew dumped him as running mate in 1974, Adams challenged Askew in the Democratic primary and was resoundingly beaten.

Jim Williams (1975-79): Askew’s second-term running mate, he ran for governor in 1978 but finished fourth in a seven-candidate Democratic primary. He was later appointed by President Jimmy Carter to a U.S. Department of Agriculture post.

Wayne Mixson (1979-87): Running mate of Democratic Gov. Bob Graham. Graham won a 1986 Senate election and resigned the governorship on Jan. 3, 1987 to take office in Washington. Mixson became governor and served three days until Republican Bob Martinez took office. Mixson didn’t seek office afterward. He recently celebrated his 95th birthday and is Florida’s oldest living ex-governor.

Bobby Brantley (1987-91): Running mate of Republican Gov. Bob Martinez, he decided to leave politics and did not join Martinez for his unsuccessful 1990 re-election bid. Brantley is now a lawyer and lobbyist.

Buddy MacKay (1991-98): Running mate of Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, he won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1998 but lost the general election to Republican Jeb Bush. When Chiles died in December 1998, MacKay served as governor for a few weeks until Bush was inaugurated.

• Frank Brogan (1999-2003): Bush’s running mate in 1998 and 2002, he resigned in 2003 to become president of Florida Atlantic University. Brogan later became chancellor of Florida’s university system and now holds that post in Pennsylvania.

Toni Jennings (2003-07): Tapped by Bush to succeed Brogan, she was encouraged by Bush to run for governor in 2006 but declined.

Jeff Kottkamp (2007-11): Republican running mate to Gov. Charlie Crist, Kottkamp ran for attorney general in 2010 but lost in the primary to eventual AG Pam Bondi.

Jennifer Carroll (2011-13): Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2010 running mate, she resigned in 2013 shortly after Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators questioned her about Allied Veterans of the World, a St. Augustine-based nonprofit accused of running an illegal gambling ring. Carroll, who once represented Allied Veterans as a public relations consultant, was not accused of wrongdoing but said she wanted to avoid being a “distraction.”

Carlos Lopez-Cantera (2014-present): Selected by Scott in 2014, he helped Scott win re-election that year. When Rubio launched a 2016 presidential campaign, Lopez-Cantera opened a campaign for Rubio’s seat but bowed out in June 2016 when Rubio decided to seek re-election.

 

 

 

 

Like old times: Trump ripped by Rubio, Bush; puzzled by David Duke

Then-candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 rally west of Boca Raton. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)

For Floridians in particular, the latest controversy surrounding President Donald Trump and white nationalists has a familiar ring.

Trump took bipartisan heat Saturday for blaming “many sides” for deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. But on Monday, reading a statement in the White House, the president specifically called out “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” On Tuesday, however, Trump returned to blame-sharing, saying there was “a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

During Tuesday’s news conference at Trump Tower in New York, Trump said he watched Saturday’s events “very closely.” But he said he was unaware that former KKK leader David Duke was at the rally and telling interviewers “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”

“I didn’t know David Duke was there,” Trump said Tuesday.

OPINION: On opposing Trump on bigotry, Marco Rubio sets an example

It was reminiscent of February 2016, when then-candidate Trump claimed ignorance of Duke during an interview from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach  and refused repeated invitations to denounce Duke from CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump told Tapper. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”

Trump later blamed a “lousy earpiece” for the incident.

After the 2016 Duke debacle, a PAC supporting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president highlighted Trump’s Tapper interview in a 30-second ad that touted Rubio as “a better way.”

Rubio harshly criticized Trump at the time in 2016, but later supported him. Rubio has returned to the role of Trump critic over the president’s Charlottesville remarks.

“Mr. President,you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain,” Rubio said Tuesday as part of a series of tweets condemning Trump’s latest remarks.

Another former Florida rival of Trump was also sharply critical Tuesday.

“This is a time for moral clarity, not ambivalence,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted on Facebook. “I urge President Trump to unite the country, not parse the assignment of blame for the events in Charlottesville. For the sake of our country, he must leave no room for doubt that racism and hatred will not be tolerated or ignored by his White House.”

 

Jeb Bush weighs in on arrested Debbie Wasserman Schultz staffer

Jeb Bush campaigning in Iowa in 2016. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Private citizen Jeb Bush uses his Twitter account sparingly, often to promote school choice programs or other education reforms.

The former Florida governor and failed 2016 Republican presidential candidate tweets the occasional link to articles critical of President Donald Trump and in June called it “Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential” when Trump attacked Mika Brzezinski. He also praised retired Gen. John Kelly as “a good man and a tremendous leader” when Trump tapped him to be White House chief of staff.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, in 2015.

On Saturday, Bush drew attention to the recent arrest of an information technology staffer who worked for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and several other House Dems — including Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton.

“The incompetence and terrible judgment displayed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and House Democrats is jarring,” Bush tweeted.

He added a link to a Wall Street Journal column that says the arrest of Imran Awan and investigation of four other IT staffers is “a tale of massive government incompetence that seemingly allowed a family of accused swindlers to bilk federal taxpayers out of millions and even put national secrets at risk. In a more accountable world, House Democrats would be forced to step down.”

Jeb Bush calls Donald Trump ‘deeply troubling’

Jeb Bush campaigning in Iowa in 2016. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the first establishment Republican casualty in Donald Trump‘s rise to the presidency, took some shots at President Trump  and the celebrification of American politics on Saturday at OzyFest in New York City.

Bush also accused some of his fellow Republicans of being inconsistent on Russia.

“If Barack Obama did something as it related to Russia and you get, you say this is outrageous, all this stuff, then when your guy does the same thing, have the same passion to be critical,” according to a video clip posted on Twitter by Business Insider politics reporter Maxwell Tani.

Bush told Trump’s Democratic critics that Trump isn’t a true Republican.

“He’s not really affiliated with the party, just to be clear. He’s Trump,” Bush said, according to an Associated Press account.

“We may have really talented people that are really good on TV being our leaders for a while until we sort things out…Ideas and policy really matter. It’s not just about personality,” said Bush.

While critical of the president, Bush said he wants Trump to be successful.

“I find him deeply troubling in a lot of ways. But I pray for him every night. And I pray for our country every night,” Bush said. “I care about my grandkids.”

Report: Jeb Bush drops effort to buy Marlins

Jeb Bush autographs a baseball during a 2015 campaign appearance in Central Florida. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Former Florida Gov. and unsuccessful 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has ended his efforts to buy the Miami Marlins, according to an Associated Press report this afternoon.

Derek Jeter during the 2003 World Series. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Bush and Yankee legend Derek Jeter were part of a group trying to buy the team.

It wasn’t the first pairing of a Bush family member and a Yankee icon. In 1948, George H.W. Bush met Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth at Yale when Bush was captain of Yale’s baseball squad.

Click here for more on the multi-generational ties between the Bush family and baseball.

Jeter remains interested in being part of a Marlins ownership group, the AP reports.

Jeb Bush: I told you Trump would be ‘chaos president’

Jeb Bush campaigning in Iowa last year. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Former Florida Gov. and Donald Trump punching bag Jeb Bush said Trump’s presidency is playing out as he predicted during the 2016 campaign.

“When I ran for office, I said he is a chaos candidate and would be a chaos president,” Bush told a hedge fund conference in Las Vegas today, according to a CNN report.
“Unfortunately, so far chaos organizes the presidency right now,” said Bush, who was seated on stage next to former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Bush was once the Republican establishment favorite to win the 2016 Republican nomination, but he came under relentless attack from Trump as “low energy” as Trump ran against GOP norms to become the nominee and president.

Baseball and the Bush family: From Babe Ruth and Poppy to Jeter ‘n’ Jeb

Jeb Bush autographs a baseball during a 2015 campaign appearance in Central Florida. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

If former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and an investor group that includes future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter are successful in buying the Miami Marlins, it will continue a long baseball tradition in the Bush family. And it won’t be the first baseball-related pairing of a Bush and a Yankee legend.

 

Jeb Bush’s grandfather, former Connecticut Sen. Prescott Bush, played baseball at Yale a century ago.

Prescott Bush in the 1916 Yale baseball program.

 

Jeb Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, was captain of the baseball team at Yale in the 1940s and famously appeared in a picture with Babe Ruth in June 1948, less than three months before the Bambino’s death.

Babe Ruth and Yale baseball captain George H.W. Bush in 1948. (Yale University Library)

 

(It should be mentioned that Ruth’s 714th and final home run came off a pitcher named Guy Bush — who was not related to the political Bush clan.)

Guy Bush surrendered Babe Ruth’s 714th and final home run in 1935. He’s not related to the political Bush clan, but his surname and the magnificence of this Goudey baseball card merit inclusion here.

 

Jeb Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, was head of an ownership group that bought the Texas Rangers in 1989.

George W. Bush, shown here throwing out a first pitch as president, was part of the Texas Rangers ownership group before becoming Texas governor.

VIDEO: Trump at CPAC today — a history of an unlikely alliance

Donald Trump as a not-yet-declared presidential candidate at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Donald Trump as a not-yet-declared presidential candidate at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference.

President Donald Trump – a former Hillary Clinton donor and George W. Bush impeachment advocate and a past supporter of abortion rights, an assault weapons ban and a massive “wealth tax” – is not a product of the conservative movement.

CPAC reactied icily last year when Trump cancelled a scheduled appearance.
CPAC reactied icily last year when Trump cancelled a scheduled appearance.

But part-time Palm Beach resident Trump will be the featured speaker today at the movement’s premier annual event, the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C.

It’ll be Trump’s fifth CPAC appearance.

WATCH LIVE: PRESIDENT TRUMP SPEAKS AT CPAC 

 

Since he first spoke at CPAC in 2011, Trump and conservatives have traveled a bumpy road.

Just last year, Trump cancelled his scheduled CPAC appearance. His campaign cited the need to campaign in Kansas before that state’s caucuses, but critics accused him of trying to avoid a planned mass walkout organized by a conservative activist.

On its official Twitter account last year, CPAC said Trump’s cancellation “sends a clear message to conservatives.”

Despite his variegated ideological history, Trump has been remarkably consistent in his remarks to CPAC since his initial speech six years ago.

Some past Trump CPAC highlights:

2011: ‘Our country will be great again’ —  Trump was considering a 2012 run for president when he spoke at the 2011 conference. Entering to the 1973 O’Jays classic “For the Love of Money,” Trump gave remarks that sounded a lot like his 2016 stump speech.

 

 

 

“The United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world. The world is treating us without respect. They are not treating us properly…The United States is becoming the laughingstock of the world,” Trump said early on.

He listed China, India, South Korea, Mexico and the OPEC nations as countries that “view our leaders as weak and ineffective.”

CPAC crowds always feature a strong libertarian element, and when someone shouted support for former Rep. Ron Paul during Trump’s remarks, Trump dismissed the idea.

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you…He just has zero chance of getting elected,” Trump said.

“If I decide to run I will not be raising taxes. We’ll be taking in hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries that are screwing us. We’ll be creating vast numbers of productive jobs…and we’ll rebuild our country so that we can be proud,” Trump said. Then, offering a precursor to his 2016 slogan, he added: “Our country will be great again.”

2013: Immigrants = Democratic votes — When Trump spoke to CPAC a few months after Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, many Republicans were calling for the GOP to embrace immigration reform to appeal to the growing segment of Hispanic voters. Not Trump.

 

 

 

“Every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic. That’s just the way it works…You’re just not going to get those votes,” Trump said.

Trump told reporters it was “so early” to speculate about a 2016 run for president. Most of the presidential attention at the event was focused on speakers such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal.

Trump told the CPAC crowd that Republicans needed to abandon conservative calls for entitlement reform.

“As Republicans, if you think you’re going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way and at the same time you think you’re going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen,” Trump said.

“We have to make America strong again and make America great again,” Trump said early in his speech. He returned to the signature phrase at the end.

“We have to start manufacturing and building again and we have to make America great again. Our problems will be solved,” Trump said.

2014: Putin ‘toying’ with Obama — Trump bragged about not using a TelePrompTer, promoted his Doral golf course and Old Post Office hotel in Washington and said President Obama’s “weak” and “pathetic” leadership had encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to take Crimea from Ukraine a few weeks earlier.

 

 

 

 

“You look at what he’s doing with President Obama. He’s like toying with him. He’s toying with him,” Trump said of Putin.

Trump also repeated his warning to the GOP that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would help Democrats.

“I don’t care who stands up, whether its Marco Rubio, and talks about ‘Let everybody in.’ You won’t get one vote. Every one of those votes goes to the Democrats,” Trump said.

Looking to 2016, Trump said: “I think in 2016 you’ll probably be running against Hillary. I think it’s going to be a tough race but I think it’s going to be a race that, by that time, will be so bad that the Republicans will likewise take that and then you can actually end Obamacare, which is a total catastrophe.”

2015: Birtherism revisited — A few months before formally launching his candidacy, Trump insisted he was seriously considering the race and not merely stoking interest in his brand.

 

 

 

 

 

“A lot of people think I’m doing this for fun. They think it’s good for my brand and I’m here and I’m doing that. I’m a big successful guy. I’m not doing this for fun. I’m doing it because we have to take our country back,” Trump said.

In a post-speech Q and A with Sean Hannity, Trump put the odds he would run in 2016 at 75 percent to 80 percent.

“We are in a position where we just never win. And that’s because of our leadership. You need somebody, perhaps, that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ – one of the great business books of all time,” Trump said.

He continued his tough talk on immigration, this time throwing in the notion of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico — but not adding his later insistence that Mexico pay for the wall.

“We need strong borders. We need a wall. If I run, I will tell you, the king of building buildings, the king of building walls, nobody can build them like Trump. That I can promise you,” he said.

Bush at the time was the establishment favorite to win the GOP nomination.

“Jeb Bush — he’s in favor of Common Core. He’s weak on immigration,” Trump said. “I don’t see him winning. I don’t see there’s any way. You people are going to have to make your own choice. Who knows?”

Trump by 2015 had largely abandoned his trafficking in birther conspiracy theories about Obama. But he still voiced doubt about Obama’s birthplace and boasted that he had persuaded the president to produce a birth certificate in 2011 while others failed.

“Trump comes along and said ‘birth certificate.’ He gave a birth certificate — whether or not that was a real certificate, because a lot of people questioned it, I certainly questioned it — but Hillary Clinton wanted it, McCain wanted it and I wanted it. He didn’t do it for them. He did it for me,” Trump said. “So in one sense I’m proud of it. Now all we have to do is find out whether or not it was real.”

 

 

 

 

From Donald Trump: Low-energy Jeb, Crooked Hillary…’Clown’ Schumer?

President-elect Donald Trump, derided as a clown by the New York Daily News, has tried to tag Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as a clown on Twitter.
President-elect Donald Trump, derided as a clown by the New York Daily News, has tried to tag Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as a clown on Twitter.

For the second day in a row, President-elect Donald Trump is attaching one of his favorite epithets — “clown” — to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Twitter.

 

“The Democrats, lead by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in,” Trump tweeted this morning.

 

 

On Wednesday, Trump referred to Democrats who support the health care law as “Schumer clowns.”

 

Part-time Palm Beach resident Trump is well-known for his ability to make unflattering nicknames stick to his opponents — as “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, “Little” Marco Rubio, “Lyin'” Ted Cruz and “low-energy” Jeb Bush can attest.

 

Schumer isn’t the most likely candidate for Trump ridicule. Trump has contributed $10,800 to Schumer’s campaigns over the years and, according to a recent New York Post report, the president-elect likes Schumer more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., or House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

 

 

 

“I have always had a good relationship with Chuck Schumer. He is far smarter than Harry R and has the ability to get things done. Good news!” Trump tweeted in November when Schumer was tapped to lead Senate Democrats upon Nevada Sen. Harry Reid‘s retirement.

 

According to TrumpTwitterArchive.com, Trump has tweeted or retweeted the “clown” 44 times.

 

Among those deemed clowns by Trump: Republican pollster Frank Luntz, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, Republican strategist Karl Rove and comedian Jon Stewart.

 

 

Florida’s tide of red ink recedes again — hitting nine-year low

Florida's debt level in 2016 at a nine-year low.
Florida’s debt level in 2016 at a nine-year low.

Florida’s debt dropped $1.6 billion last year to its lowest overall level since 2007, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet were told Tuesday.

The state’s Bond Finance Division Director Ben Watkins pointed out the decline returned Florida to its more recent course of reducing the level of red ink, after a one-year increase spawned by major borrowing for road work on Interstate 4.

The $24.1 billion owed by Florida is its lowest level since 2007. Lawmakers were forced to include $2.1 billion in taxpayer money in the state’s $82 billion budget just to service the debt.

The decline has been helped by favorable interest rates, which have prodded the state to refinance some of what it owes over the past six years, saving about $2.5 billion, Watkins told the Cabinet.

About half of the state’s debt stems from bond financing to for school and university construction, with another 40 percent attributed to transportation work.

Stemming the tide of red ink comes even as Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has outlined plans for the state to bond $1.2 billion over 20 years to buy 60,000 acres to ease the impact of water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

The land, mostly in western Palm Beach County, would be turned into a reservoir that would help cleanse farm-polluted water from the lake, which he said has “poisoned” the waterways of surrounding communities.

Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, haven’t said much about Negron’s initiative, which totals $2.4 billion, including an anticipated federal match.

Scott, though, has been intent on reducing Florida’s debt. Since he took office in 2011, debt has dropped $3.6 billion, from $27.7 billion.

Scott also effectively reversed a long period of borrowing that spiked when Gov. Jeb Bush took office in 1999 and state borrowing climbed about $10 billion over the next decade.