Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo threw his hat in the ring as a Republican candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District Tuesday.
His family in tow, Curbelo made the announcement in his backyard in west Miami-Dade.
The 26th Congressional District – which stretches from western Miami-Dade County across to Florida’s west coast and includes the Florida Keys – is currently represented by Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia, who handily defeated then-Republican congressman David Rivera last November.
It was a slugfest campaign with charges of phony candidates and ballot rigging. Now, Garcia is plagued with an investigation of a former top aide who authorities allege attempted to secure absentee ballots.
"People are deeply disappointed at the torrent of scandals that constantly emanate from Washington. From the IRS abusing its power to an embarrassing absentee ballot scandal led by the incumbent's campaign in our own district,” Curbelo said.
Curbelo, 33, cited his success as a Miami-Dade School Board member. He has represented District 7 since 2010. He talked about how the board has gotten down to business after turbulent times.
"To see how the school board has come together, and we have people from both parties and different ideologies,” Curbelo said.
Garcia has amassed an impressive war chest hand in the early going before the November 2014 election. His campaign says it has raised $1 million in six months.
Curbelo charges that Garcia is obsessed with running for office.
"We need people less concerned with the next election and more concerned about addressing some of the big issues,” Curbelo said.
Curbelo faces at least two competitors for the Republican nomination, as former Miami-Dade commissioner Joe Martinez and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall have said they are going to run. With that in mind, the Garcia campaign provided its response to Curbelo’s announcement Tuesday.
"Our focus is serving our constituents by working on real immigration reform and getting our economy moving. There will be time for campaigning and politics once the other side picks a candidate,” said Raul Martinez Jr., Garcia’s district director and campaign advisor, in a statement. “Congressman Garcia is honored by the incredible support and having raised a million dollars in just six months."
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