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Politics

South Florida Congressional Race Heats Up

November 24, 2013 - 6:00pm

National Republicans are increasingly turning their attention to Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo to dispatch freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., even as Curbelo draws another major primary opponent.

Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) included Curbelo in their On the Radar round of congressional hopefuls who will get their support against Democratic incumbents. He was the only Republican challenger in Florida named by the NRCC, though 35 other Republicans from across the nation were included on the list.

These 36 candidates all provide a stark contrast to their liberal opponents, whose support of Obamacare and this administrations big-government, job-destroying agenda has taken a toll on the American people, said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the NRCC. With Obamacares bad policies and botched rollout affecting families across our nation, and our country diving deeper into debt each and every day, its time to bring real change backed by conservative principles and priorities to Washington. I am confident that these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and their campaigns as we head into the 2014 election year.

But even with the attention hes getting from the NRCC, Curbelo does not have an open shot at the Republican nomination. Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck and Jose Peixoto are also seeking the Republican nomination. The GOP primary field grew last week as former Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez made good the rumors about his intentions, jumping into the race.

I am looking forward to officially launching this campaign to bring back the core American values of hard work and perseverance, Martinez said as he launched his campaign Thursday. My knowledge and experience of local government give me a much-needed perspective that can ensure our local economy receives adequate attention for projects like the Port of Miami expansion or protecting the natural beauty of the Florida Keys.

Even as the Republican primary contest starts to heat up, Garcia and conservative organizations are starting to gear up for the general election next year. Conservative group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) launched a new television ad which links Garcia to the increasingly unpopular federal health care law doggedly backed by President Barack Obama.

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Garcias camp quickly responded to the ad with campaign staffer Lindsay Marks emailing supporters to insist the Koch brothers were behind it and vowing to issue a strong response to defend the congressman.

We just found out that the Koch brothers bought a significant amount of TV airtime to run a series of attack ads against Joe over the Thanksgiving holiday, Marks wrote. Insisting the ads were misleading, Marks added, We know this is just the first taste of what the GOP is planning for next year, so our response now is critical.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com

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