Joe Garcia (on the left) this morning, around 8 AM, officially announced that he will be challenging Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, brother of Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart who was recently challenged by former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez. Garcia called in to the local morning show with Nicole Sanders mentioning that he had a long night's rest in preparation for today.
Garcia is quoted in today's Miami Herald saying: "This is a unique time in American history and just sitting on the sidelines and cheering isn't enough." In response, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart states: "I will base my campaign on my extensive record of cutting taxes on our families and small businesses while delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for our community's needs, including transportation, healthcare and education." Concerning Cuba, Garcia is opposed to the Cuban family travel (and remittance) restrictions imposed in 2004, which is supported by both Diaz-Balart Brothers. But this is the only point of disagreement. Concerning the general US embargo towards Cuba, all candidates support the current unilateral economic sanctions on the island.
According to Lesley Clark from the Miami Herald, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has "more than $465,000 in his campaign account." It is not yet known exactly how much Joe Garcia or Raul Martinez have behind their campaigns so far. Clark also reports that political analyst see that Garcia "may have a tougher time gaining traction because he lacks name recognition" in the district in which he is running for office. While the district (Florida's 25th Congressional) still leans Republican, a decreasing number of registered Republicans and an increasing number of Independents, including anticipated high voter turnout, may prove to make this another exciting South Florida campaign along with Raul vs Lincoln.
Tonight local Spanish station Noticiero23 (Univision) had an interview with Annette Taddeo, potential challenger to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She did not say whether she would run or not, but stated that "change" is needed in Ileana's 18th Congressional district. Taddeo, like now-official Democrat candidates Martinez and Garcia, has been seen around Capitol Hill looking for support to run against Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. No comments have been made by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's office so far about the potential challenge in November.
And, on Telemundo51 an online poll asked viewers who they would vote for between Joe Garcia and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. 63% voted for Mario, and 37% for Joe, from a total of 2509 votes.
[Correction: I misquoted Joe Garcia earlier from the Lesley Clark article in today's Herald. Corrections have been made, and my apologies to readers.]