Friday, April 19, 2024

Democrats look to Joe Garcia for a Win in 2010

As reported in a recent post by La Plaza, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s (R-FL) announcement to retire in January initiated an unexpected political jostle when his brother, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who represents the neighboring congressional district, decided to vacate his seat and run in the retiring Diaz-Balart’s district, which is seen as a Republican safe haven.  The resulting vacancy in November has provided a genuine opportunity for Democrats to seize a seat in Congress – an opportunity that many politicos think will be rare during the upcoming midterm elections.  According to Democratic pollster Sergio Bendixen, the ideal candidate would be Joe Garcia.

Florida’s 25th Congressional District was crafted in 2002 by the Florida legislature.  It covers the Miami and Fort Myers/Naples media markets, and stretches over parts of three South Florida counties.  It was designed by its future Representative, Mario Diaz-Balart, who was a state legislator at the time and who gave himself a 10 percent Republican advantage among registered voters.  In deed, John McCain narrowly beat out Barack Obama in the district during the 2008 presidential elections.

But what was once a comfortable Republican advantage in Florida’s 25th has now become a slight Democratic majority due to an influx on new residents and a demographic rejuvenation.  The district, which is 60 percent Latino, half of whom are Cuban, now boasts 600 more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Joe Garcia is considered to be an ideally suited Democratic candidate due to his background as a politically savvy Cuban American attorney from the area with a long history of public service.  Garcia, who currently serves as an official in the Department of Energy, ran for the congressional seat in 2008 and just narrowly lost to the politically powerful Diaz-Balart, who outspent him by nearly $1 million.  If Garcia decides to run in 2010, he would be the clear Democratic frontrunner for the seat.

While many expect 2010 to be a difficult year for Democrats, Florida’s 25th might prove to be an anomaly in this regard.  Not only have demographic changes altered its political composition, but the two assumed Republican candidates have already begun harshly attacking each other.  Alex de la Portilla, a state senator, has called political consultant David Rivera a “political hack” and promised to give him “an old fashioned ass whooping”.  While Republicans tear themselves apart in the primaries, Garcia will likely enjoy the Democratic field to himself.  Furthermore, several unreleased polls show high approval for President Obama in the district, and only 44% approval for the departing Rep. Diaz-Balart.

Joe Garcia has the campaign infrastructure and the voter base in place to pull off a much needed coup for the Democratic Party in 2010.  There is considerable speculation that he is interested in running, and the White House, along with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has reportedly been courting Garcia aggressively.  As we wait to learn of Garcia’s decision on whether to run, many supporters and strategists among the Democrats are hoping that he will decide yes.

Huffington Post


  1. generation Y says

    Thank god! We need someone who is not a careerist politician, and what better in the current economic crisis than someone who ran the office for small business empowerment. He’s got my vote, Go Joe!