Reviews pouring in for Rick Scott's LG pick

Tallahassee Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE -- After 10 months without a second-in-command, Gov. Rick Scott officially tapped former legislator and Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera as his lieutenant governor and 2014 running mate on Tuesday.

And the reviews from Republicans were quick to roll in.

"Carlos Lopez-Cantera is a man of integrity and conviction. I applaud Governor Rick Scott's wise selection of him as Florida's new Lieutenant Governor.  Governor Scott continues to demonstrate his commitment to the Hispanic community of Florida by selecting a proven leader from Miami-Dade County," Miami-Dade GOP Chairman Nelson Diaz said in a statement.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who was once being urged to challenge Scott in a Republican primary, also heaped praises on the former House majority leader from Coral Gables.

“As a state legislator, he was a driving force in reducing taxes on businesses and consumers. He was a principled conservative who served Florida well during some of the greatest challenges our state has faced," Putnam said in a statement.

“Carlos Lopez-Cantera is an outstanding leader in our state who will bring energy, passion and wise counsel to the Governor’s office.”

Lopez-Cantera hails from a real estate development family and his business background was touted as well as his reach into the all-important South Florida Hispanic community.

"Lopez-Cantera's experience with his family business matches well with Governor Scott's mission to be laser-focused on job growth and creating jobs that turn into careers," Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry said.

"Governor Scott's decision in selecting him reflects both of their commitments to moving Florida's economy forward and investing in Florida's schools, teachers and students."

But the Charlie Crist campaign was largely muted about the selection for an office that has sat vacant since former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll had to resign last March in the wake of a criminal Internet casino investigation.

"Our campaign is focused on putting the people back in charge and protecting the middle class from four more years of Rick Scott’s extreme partisanship,” said Kevin Cate, a spokesperson for the campaign.

Following news of the selection Monday night, Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant blasted Lopez-Cantera as a "poster child" for Tallahassee politics.

“Carlos Lopez-Cantera is the poster child for what is wrong with Tallahassee today, an ultra-partisan career politician who spent his time in Tallahassee putting big corporations and wealthy special interests ahead of middle class families," Tant said in a statement. 

"By choosing a partisan product of the pay-to-play culture of Tallahassee in Lopez-Cantera as Florida’s Lt. Governor, Rick Scott is proving that he is exactly the type of politician he promised he would never be — more interested in scoring political points than commonsense solutions to the problems facing Florida."

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