Juicy stuff at the Miami-Dade Democratic Party meeting Monday night – two admirable Democrats announcing they’re on the verge of running for the US House seat held by David Rivera, FL-25. Here it is only July 2011 and it seems this seat is in the Democratic Party hot zone well before the 2012 campaign season. In Washington the party apparatus (the DCCC) urges us to keep the heat on Rivera, calling attention to his votes against Medicare, and we can hope that the investigators will pull no punches in looking at his income and campaign finances.
MORE after the jump
State Rep. Luis Garcia, in his third term representing District 109 in Miami-Dade County (Little Havana, South Beach), was introduced early in the meeting and said he’s about to decide on FL-25. His embryonic campaign speech centered on immigration and civil rights, not to forget the dismal reputation of the incumbent: “David Rivera is a crook, folks,” Luis Garcia said.
A short while later Annette Taddeo, who ran a 2008 spirited campaign against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in FL-18, which is the mostly southern neighbor of FL-25, said she, too, is close to deciding on a run. And she treated the party activist regulars to a bit of what sounded like a campaign speech focused on health-care issues, though she said she had only come to participate in elections for the October state party convention.
Is that all? Hold the presses! Joe Garcia just returned my call and said from Washington: “News of my death is greatly exaggerated.” Joe Garcia ran in FL-25 twice, unsuccessfully, but hasn’t given up. “I am thinking about running, but we are talking about a phantom seat,” he said.
He regarded Taddeo and Luis Garcia as making premature moves when the shape of the district is unknown amid redistricting. Florida gained two US House seats to 27 from the 2010 census. The Republican-dominated state Legislature has barely started the process of redistricting and instead is fighting the fair-districts referendum results that mandate against gerrymandering.
Earlier Monday there was news that Alan Grayson is about to go official with a run to regain the Orlando-area seat he lost in the 2010 Democratic national debacle. This sounds like a lot of early action to boost Democratic numbers in the US House.
As Luis Garcia said, it takes only 24 seats to take the US House back. Would that Florida could contribute two or more of those.
This district, FL-25, runs from the western suburbs of Miami across the Everglades to encompass part of Collier County on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Miami precincts are heavily Hispanic. This will be at least the third straight election in which Democrats assert the demographics and voter behavior are turning in their favor in this district.
Joe Garcia, a former chairman of the county Democratic Party, lost to Mario Diaz-Balart in 2008 and to David Rivera in 2010 after Diaz-Balart switched to run in FL-21 after his elder brother Lincoln Diaz-Balart retired. Rivera is closely linked with Marco Rubio, elected in 2010 to the US Senate. When both were in the Florida Legislature, the two of them jointly owned a residence in Tallahassee and they famously were foreclosed on.
Against such Republican shenanigans, Democrats have attractive possible candidates. Annette Taddeo is a young mother and successful businesswoman, much younger than Luis Garcia, who’s Cuba-born and a former Miami Beach fireman and fire chief as well as Miami Beach city commissioner before running for the legislature and taking a Republican-held seat in 2006. Taddeo has good Hispanic credentials as her mother is Colombian; her late father was an Italian-American and Korean War veteran. Joe Garcia is a US-born son of Cuban immigrants. He served in the Obama Department of Energy at the sub-cabinet level before resigning to run for Congress in 2010, and he was in Washington Monday for talks at the White House, he said, when he returned your blogger’s call. Need I say the two Garcias are not related?
UPDATE: This edited version shows two corrections of errors of fact: Luis Garcia represents District 107 (not 109), and Annette Taddeo made one run for the US House in FL-18 (not two).