Joe Garcia's Errors Feed GOP Hunger to Toss Him Out in November

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: May 22, 2014 3:55 AM
Carlos Curbelo, Joe Garcia, David Rivera

Carlos Curbelo, Joe Garcia, David Rivera

As Joe Garcia becomes a national punchline, Republicans have reasons to smile, even as David Rivera remains in the race.

Garcia has had an awful two weeks due to his own blunders. A video taken during a committee hearing showing Garcia digging in his ear and then eating his own earwax took off with millions of viewers taking it in. The South Florida Democrat didn’t help himself by insisting he was actually going after a fingernail.

Then on Tuesday night, Garcia handed the Republicans a golden opportunity in a meandering, often incoherent ramble during a Google Hangout in which he said “communism works” and brought up the idea of giving out government jobs to keep crime low before shooting it down. Republicans quickly made political hay out of Garcia’s comments.

In retrospect, it increasingly appears Garcia caught lightning in a bottle in 2012 when he beat the scandal-tainted Rivera. Based on his bumbling performance over the last year and a half which also includes his team being ensnared in a voter fraud scandal, Garcia’s losses to Rivera in 2010 and to Mario Diaz-Balart in 2008 are more typical than his win in 2012 when he had Barack Obama’s and Bill Nelson’s coattails to ride in on.

Garcia can still get his groove back, especially if Rivera wins the Republican primary at the end of August. But Rivera has done little since making his surprise annoucement at the start of this month that he is running again. Rivera is certainly a factor in the primary and he knows South Florida well from his many years of running campaigns and working with the Miami-Dade GOP. But he only has a three-month window. Rivera needs to ramp it up soon.

For now, Carlos Curbelo is the front-runner to win the Republican primary. Already relying on the support of Jeb Bush and George LeMieux, Curbelo has gotten the support of even more leading Republicans since Rivera surfaced. Both the Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen took sides once Rivera popped back up, backing Curbelo over the former congressman. Rivera’s longtime friend and ally Marco Rubio also headed to the high ground, saying he had no intention of taking sides in the primary. Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen all served alongside Rivera and none of them is sticking with their former colleague. Curbelo is also getting national attention, including the Washington Post recognizing him as a political star who is under 40.

With Curbelo in solid shape against Rivera so far, Garcia needs to get his act together. Even with his A-game, Garcia will find Curbelo a tough outcome November. Unlike Rivera and Garcia, Curbelo isn’t tainted with scandals and Republicans are starting to get behind him. With Patrick Murphy in surprisingly strong shape up I-95, Garcia increasingly offers the best -- perhaps only -- chance for the GOP to take down a Democrat congressman in Florida. Those odds will only increase if Garcia continues to make the unforced errors he’s made in recent days.

Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (3)

winners and losers
4:14PM MAY 22ND 2014
How do we tell the difference between the democrats and the extreme left wing of the Republican party?

Just today remarks made by Fl State Rep Charles Van Zant regarding AIR pushing the homosexual agenda - Rick Scott's vendor's for COMMON CORE which is being pushed nationally by Jeb Bush.

So if we have Rick Scott and Jeb Bush pushing Common Core and that movement is pushing the gay and lesbian agenda how much farther to the left can anyone get? Not only that but the muslim agenda as well.

So, from the outside looking in it looks like the Republicans are supporting Common Core along with all of it's crazy left wing contents and then trying to blame everything that looks crazy on the Democrats. Crazy is as crazy does and crazy needs to be labeled crazy not just two parties standing there screaming bull schet back and forth at each other!
10:43AM MAY 22ND 2014
Well all we can hope for is more unforced errors from any democrat.
Here's to ear wax/fingernails.Too bad he wasn't digging in his nose.
winners and losers
10:04AM MAY 22ND 2014
The only support Carlos Curbelo needs to win is Jeb Bush and those little vote fixing chips Clint Curtis invested for Tom Feeney!

Remember it was Feeney who commissioned Clint Curtis of NASA to invent those chips! And it was Gov. Jeb Bush who issued the executive order (like Obama does) that denies the hand recounting of paper ballots that have previously been counted by optical scanner.

That's a win, win, win situation for the anointed ones! And for those non-conformists they have other little schemes to control that as well.

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