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Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo Spar in New Attack Ads

October 12, 2016 - 3:00pm
Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo
Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo

South Florida candidates are hitting TV and radio airwaves to attack each other in Florida's 26th congressional district in one of the most competitive congressional races in the nation.

On Wednesday, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia launched a new TV spot hitting U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., trying to link him to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The ad hones in on similar positions between the two, who have both vehemently opposed President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Garcia's campaign says Curbelo goes one step further than Trump does since he "acts out" on "extreme positions." 

“Donald Trump takes extreme positions that hurt South Florida families, but Republican leader Carlos Curbelo goes to Congress and actually votes for them,” said Javier Hernandez, a spokesman for Garcia. “Instead of standing up to his party, Republican Congressman Curbelo voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with nothing.  Curbelo's votes would deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and allow insurance companies to charge women more than men—Joe Garcia voted to protect and improve Obamacare so that it works for everyone.” 

Garcia also appears in the new ad, telling voters why he believes he's the better choice to send to Congress. 

“In Congress, I worked hard for our community, and we got results,” Garcia explains. “But Carlos Curbelo and Donald Trump want to go backwards. They’re working to repeal Obamacare, stripping health-care from thousands of Florida families. That’s wrong. Families are more important than politics. That’s why worked with the president to protect Obamacare, and in Congress, I’ll work to improve it. I’m Joe Garcia and I approve this message, because leadership is about protecting Florida families and building on the progress we’ve made.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) didn't waste much time firing back at Garcia on Wednesday, releasing a new TV ad and a radio spot hitting the former congressman for comments on communism and on backing Obama’s deal with Iran on its nuclear program. 

 “Joe Garcia supports the dangerous Iran nuclear deal that allows $150 billion to flow to the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism,” said NRCC spokesman Chris Pack.  “Joe Garcia is too embarrassing and too dangerous for the people of South Florida.” 

The ads play on controversial comments Garcia made over the years 

“Garcia said its been proven that communism works," says the announcer. "But there’s more: Garcia supports the nuclear deal with Iran, allowing $150 billion to flow to the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism, giving Iran a path to nuclear weapons. Joe Garcia: He’s not just embarrassing, he’s dangerous.”

The NRCC radio ad expands on those remarks, featuring audio from a Google Hangout where he said "communism works" when discussing immigration. 

“Joe Garcia really did say that," the NRCC says, then moving onto Garcia's support of the nuclear deal with Iran, which it says is the "biggest sponsor of terrorism."

This is the second time Curbelo and Garcia have faced off in an election. In 2014, Curbelo thwarted Garcia's reelection effort, taking 51 percent to Garcia's 48 percent.

Earlier this week, Roll Call ranked Curbelo as one of the ten most vulnerable incumbents in Congress, placing him seventh on the list.

Two other Florida Republicans are on the list: U.S. Rep. David Jolly ranks at the top and U.S. Rep. John Mica is ranked fifth. 



Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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