The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced this week it was raising the stakes in South Florida, with plans to spend $2.6 million in TV ads as the GOP looks to defeat freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in November. Facing a major challenge from Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, Garcia is one of the most vulnerable congressional Democrats in the nation.
Despite focusing on ethics in 2012 when he beat scandal-plagued then-U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., Garcia has been mired in his own problems, including his chief of staff serving jail time for his role in a voter fraud scandal.
The NRCC focused on Garcias ethics problems in a new TV ad unveiled on Friday, noting that he had pledged to live up to higher standards than Rivera.
Joe Garcia promised to stop the corruption scandals, the narrator of the ad says. But Joe Garcia has only delivered more corruption.
Joe Garcia campaigned on the promise of stopping the corruption in South Florida, but Garcia only gave us more corruption and embarrassment, said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Friday. With criminal investigations, hundreds of thousands in campaign payoffs, and jail time Joe Garcia is as corrupt as they come, and its time for him to go.
The Garcia camp quickly fired back, trying to make political hay out of a video that surfaced earlier this month of Curbelo comparing Social Security to a Ponzi scheme during a speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
"Its a shame that Washington Republicans have resorted to running ads in our community with no interest for the truth or the well-being of South Florida, said Miguel Salazar, a spokesman for Garcias campaign. Rep. Joe Garcia has done nothing wrong and the state's attorney has said Rep. Joe Garcia is not involved in any investigation.
"First Curbelo went to D.C. and called Medicare and Social Security a Ponzi-scheme and now his right-wing Washington political allies are being forced to prop Curbelo up because their shared tea party agenda is totally out of touch with South Florida, Salazar added.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN