Attacks Surround Ethics in South Florida Congressional Race

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 18, 2014 3:55 AM
Carlos Curbelo and Joe Garcia

Carlos Curbelo and Joe Garcia

The attacks are flying in one of the most competitive congressional races in Florida with Republicans and Democrats attacking over ethics. 

Miami-Dade County School Board member Carlos Curbelo launched two new TV ads, one in English and one in Spanish, as he heads into the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.

Curbelo is the favorite over the Republican field which has shrunk in recent days as former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., announced earlier this month he was abandoning his congressional bid but would look to return to Tallahassee in 2016 by running for the Florida House.

In his English-language ad, Curbelo tries to stress he will be a breath of fresh air compared to Garcia and Rivera who have been plagued by scandals.

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“It’s not easy to clean up the mess when it’s been sitting for too long,” Curbelo says in the ad. "Like corrupt politicians. They get rich. We get forgotten. We need new leaders who will look out for Florida families, not themselves.”

Curbelo plays up the same theme in his Spanish-language ad.

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“We live in a great community, but corruption has left us lacking good jobs and with a stagnant economy," Curbelo says in translation. “As the son of exiles, I’m proud of what my parents and their generation have accomplished. I want the same for my daughters. That’s why I have worked to improve education. Washington needs better ideas and someone who will represent you with integrity. I ask for your vote to be that voice in Congress. I’m Carlos Curbelo, and I approve this message.”

But Democrats have been pushing back, insisting Curbelo is tainted himself. David Bergstein‎, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) came out swinging at both Rivera and Curbelo last week.

“David Rivera would have been a horrendous nominee for Republicans in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, but self-interested lobbyist Carlos Curbelo isn’t any better. Curbelo is already under fire for funneling millions of tax dollars to his corporate campaign contributors – when that money was meant for our students, our teachers and our schools. When it comes to the issues, Curbelo is siding with the dysfunctional Republican Congress over South Florida’s values: supporting the Republican budget that jeopardizes Medicare for seniors and even stating that he was ‘very satisfied’ with Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to kill immigration reform. Curbelo is always putting himself and his partisan politics first – which is exactly why South Floridians can’t trust him in Washington.”

Garcia’s team has also been hitting Republicans over the GOP-controlled House failing to pass immigration reform this year.

With a decided financial edge and the support of former Gov. Jeb Bush and local Republican leaders like U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Curbelo is the favorite to win the Republican primary next month. Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, former Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck are also running for the Republican nomination.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (1)

C Breeze
3:47PM JUL 18TH 2014
Ethics have always been a problem for Florida Democrats, all the way back to the pre-"civil rights" era. Power and acquired extortion contributions are "riches' that Democrats just can't ignore. I know, you'll cry out that BOTH political parties do that,..BUT ONLY the Democrats have made it into an "art form" lining their own personal pockets and also the pockets of family members..by 'playing' both sides of an issue to extort money from EVERYONE (read: Peter Sweitzer's book "Extortion"). Republicans COME to office already rich (thanks to capitalistic entrepreneurship), Democrats LEAVE office with the spoils of taxpaying citizens diverted to Democrat accounts (thanks to political deception, self benefiting legislation (i.e. insider trading protection, etc.), lies, more lies and even more lies, and "power mad" actions which include "Executive Orders" and "Executive Privilege". In the old Colonial days, "tarring & feathering" would have been the "order of the day" (Samuel Adams' favorite punishment for charlatans & scoundrels).

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