Ten months and a lawsuit after Florida's previous lieutenant governor resigned amid scandal, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has finally selected a replacement.
Miami-Dade County property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former state House Republican leader, was announced as Scott's choice at a Tuesday morning press conference.
“I feel excited. This is great. It’s a great opportunity,” Lopez-Cantera told the Times/Herald Bureau, calling Scott's reelection bid a "no-brainer" for voters.
The 40-year-old married father will replace Scott's scandal-plagued 2010 running mate Jennifer Carroll, who resigned the position in March 2013 after being interviewed as part of the investigation into a scam that used a veteran's charity to run illegal gambling in internet cafes. Carroll, whose public relations firm did work for the charity, has not been charged with wrongdoing. Scott fired her staff and shut down the lieutenant governor's office, promising to select a replacement after the spring legislative session ended in May 2013.
Lopez-Cantera, who will be the first Latino to hold the largely undefined post of lieutenant governor in Florida, may help Scott's reelection efforts in Miami-Dade County, where the governor performed poorly in 2010.
"I think there'll be a little more Cuban coffee in the governor's office once I'm up there," Lopez-Cantera joked to the press.
Born in Madrid but raised in Miami, Lopez-Cantera served in the state house from 2004 to 2012, when he was forced out by term limits. He was elected as Miami-Dade's property appraiser in 2012, curiously omitting his own home from online records, according the Miami Herald.
The Times/Herald Bureau reports that the independently wealthy Lopez-Cantera will take a nearly $48,000 pay cut to become lieutenant governor.
Scott made the selection after being sued last week by a Florida political activist who argued he was violating state law by not filling the position.
— Steve Litz (@SteveNBC6) January 14, 2014
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.