Money Flows into CD 26 as Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo Ready for November

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: April 17, 2014 3:55 AM
Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo

Joe Garcia and Carlos Curbelo

The money is flowing into South Florida in one of the closest watched congressional races in the nation. 

After winning twice and failing in congressional bids, Democrat Joe Garcia defeated scandal-plagued Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., in 2012. But with Garcia holding a swing seat, Republicans are already gearing up to defeat him in November as he runs for a second term.

Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, running for the Republican nomination to challenge Garcia, announced on Wednesday that he had raised more than $310,000 in the first quarter of the year, bringing his total to more than $950,000 in the campaign so far. Garcia had brought in more than $460,000 in the first quarter and more than $2.2 million in the campaign.

“I am pleased to announce a strong fundraising quarter as we continue to build momentum, and we are most grateful for the support of our contributors, over half of whom gave under $250, with over 90 percent of all those contributing living in the state of Florida,” Curbelo said on Wednesday. “In addition, half of our contributions came from residents of Congressional District 26.

“We have strong support from our home district and from national conservative leaders such as Gov. Jeb Bush and others,” Curbelo added. “We are working every day to share our message of honest representation and ending the scandals and fraud that have plagued our district. We will fight against the irresponsible Garcia-Pelosi-Obama agenda that supports raising taxes by over $1.5 trillion on Americans now, and continues to saddle younger generations with debt.”

But, as he announced his first quarter haul earlier this week, Garcia noted that 90 percent of his donations came from individuals while 40 percent came from supporters who kicked in $100 or less.

“I am proud that the vast majority of these contributions were from individual Floridians who share my commitment to fighting for South Florida values like strengthening Medicare, supporting businesses that create jobs and reforming our broken immigration system," said Garcia. "Our campaign's fundraising strength is a clear sign that our message is resonating, and I look forward to continue doing all I can to serve as a champion for South Florida residents, working across party lines to get Congress focused on tackling the challenges that truly matter to our community."

While Garcia does have the lead in the money race, Curbelo has a clear financial advantage over his rivals for the Republican nomination. By the end of March, Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall chipped in $131,000 of his own funds into his campaign, raised $28,125 and had $42,720 on hand. Former Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez raised almost $67,000 by the end of March and had less than $49,675 on hand. Attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck relied on $90,000 of his own funds, raised $57,435 and had more than $38,900 in the bank at the end of March.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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