Battleground Friday: Florida's 26th Congressional District

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Florida's 26th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
August 26, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Carlos Curbelo Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Joe Garcia Democratic Party
Joe Garcia.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Toss Up[2]

Fairvote's Monopoly Politics: Lean D[3]

Florida U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13District 14District 15District 16District 17District 18District 19District 20District 21District 22District 23District 24District 25District 26District 27

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Florida.png

By Jennifer Springer and the Congress team


In the next profile of our 2014 battleground districts, Ballotpedia is taking an in-depth look at Florida's 26th Congressional District's 2014 election.

Current incumbent: Joe Garcia (D) was first elected in 2012.[4] Garcia is a target for Republicans in 2014. The third time proved to be the charm for Joe Garcia, as he ran against and lost to Mario Diaz Balart by six percent in 2008, ran again in 2010 but was defeated by David Rivera by almost ten percent, before he finally managed to be elected to the office in 2012.[5]

Almost as soon as Garcia was sworn in, Republicans started lining up to challenge the freshman Democrat. While the district is starting to become more Democratic, Republicans still hold a registration advantage in the district.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

Garcia is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program is designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election.[6]

2012 MOV: Joe Garcia ran against and lost to Mario Diaz Balart by six percent in 2008, ran again in 2010 but was defeated by David Rivera by almost ten percent, before he managed to defeat then-incumbent David Rivera in 2012.[5]

2014 candidates: Scandal-plagued former Rep. David Rivera, who defeated Garcia in 2010 before being ousted by him in 2012, is looking to make a political comeback despite continued investigations in a complicated campaign-financing scheme.[7][8][9]

Rivera’s re-emergence did not sit well with the other Republicans already looking to defeat Garcia. Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who had been the GOP front-runner, has brought up Rivera's ongoing investigations.[7] Curbelo is the Republican establishment favorite in the race and earned the endorsement of former Gov. Jeb Bush.[10] Curbelo and Rivera previously went to head to head in 2008 for Miami-Dade Republican chairman when Rivera, then a state Representative, won the position by just 1 vote.[8]

Rivera and Sen. Marco Rubio are reportedly friends, though the two have not been as close as in past years amid Rivera's political and legal investigations.[11] The two still jointly own a rental home, but associates of the two say Rubio would like to sell it and that he does not think it is a good idea for Rivera to run for Congress against Curbelo.[8]

Former Miami-Dade County Commission Chair Joe Martinez, who ran for Miami-Dade mayor in 2012, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, a businessman who served in Vietnam and as a police officer and attorney Lorenzo Palomares Starbuck are also running in the primary.[5][7]

State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, who defeated fellow state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan in a tough Republican primary between two incumbents in 2012, initially signaled that he intended to run but failed to file prior to the filing deadline.[5] While many of the Republicans initially rumored as potential candidates eventually passed on the race, the fact that so many names were kicked around shows that this district presents an opportunity for Republicans to possibly pick up a congressional seat.[5]

The National Republican Congressional Committee added Carlos Curbelo to their "On the Radar" list in November 2013. According to the NRCC, candidates that make this list receive "...the tools they need to run successful, winning campaigns against their Democratic opponents."[12] In March 2014, Curbelo was included on the NRCC's "Young Guns" list.[13]

What made it a Ballotpedia battleground district?: Our analysis points to the district being a battleground with a vulnerable Democratic incumbent in a historically Republican leaning district. Cook's PVI shows the district as R+1 and Fairvote rates the district as 53.1% Democratic. Additionally, the MOV in 2012 was just 10.6%, the district went to Barack Obama by 6.7% in 2012, but previously went to John McCain by 0.4% in 2008.

FEC: As of April 2014 Quarterly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, incumbent Joe Garcia had a substantial lead, with approximately $1.6 million cash-on-hand. Carlos Curbelo followed with around $161,000 cash-on-hand. David Rivera, who didn't officially announce his candidacy until early May 2014, trailed with just $500 cash-on-hand.

Outside spending: In February 2014, House Majority PAC made a $90,000 ad buy in Miami to defend Joe Garcia.[14]

The ad buy was intended to match conservative outside group Americans for Prosperity’s media campaign against Garcia. The PAC expected to spend approximately $400,000 media campaign in three Florida U.S. House districts, including against Garcia in the 26th.[14]

In a statement by House Majority PAC, spokesman Andy Stone said, “The Koch Brothers have funded attacks against Joe Garcia, meant to distort the truth in an effort to promote their reckless, anti-middle agenda, and House Majority PAC is making sure those charges don’t go unanswered."[14]

The information above was compiled following the Florida candidate filing deadline. Please find all further updates on the 18th District's election page.
Florida's 26th Congressional District
Florida's 26th.JPG

Population: 728,285
Gender: 49% Male, 51% Female
Race: 86.3% White, 9.8% Black, 1.4% Asian, 0.3% Native American
Ethnicity: 69.5% Hispanic
Unemployment: 10.6%
Median household income: $48,899
High school graduation rate: 79.8%
College graduation rate: 26.2%

See also

External links