He has tamed his unruly mop of hair -- and, perhaps, his impetuous nature.
Call it Joe Garcia, version 2010.
He's still the brash Democrat who ran for Congress two years ago and lost to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart by six points in an election year when Democrats clobbered Republicans to take the White House, the Senate and the House.
But that stinging defeat and a stint working for the Obama administration have mellowed the hard-charging Garcia, his friends say -- at least as much as can be expected for a guy who never met a political match he didn't like.
"No one will ever accuse me of not enjoying people,'' Garcia said with a grin in a recent interview. "I'm a believer that you have a good argument, but then you move forward, right?"
A longtime political operative, Garcia has never been elected to public office, though he has landed high-paying roles by appointment from Democrats in power.
Now Garcia, 47, is engaged in a tumultuous, closely watched battle with Republican David Rivera over Diaz-Balart's open seat in a key swing district targeted by both political parties. Allies of Garcia sued Rivera this week to disqualify him from the ballot over questions about Rivera's financial disclosures.
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