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Democrat war: Rep. Luis Garcia blasts Wasserman Schultz, DCCC chief for disrespect, dishonesty

Last spring, when national Democrats wanted a challenger to Republican congressman David Rivera, they thought they found their guy in state Rep. Luis Garcia, who had won two elections in a state House seat drawn by Republicans.

Garcia said he was repeatedly called and asked to run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s chairman, New York Rep. Steve Israel. So he did. But he struggled to raise money, he said, in part because fellow South Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, wouldn’t help him with big donors.

“Every step of the way, I have met road blocks -- road blocks -- from Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Garcia said.

The final insult came this week when Garcia fielded a call from former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, who is mulling a run for the seat.

“Alex said that he had been called by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and that Steve Israel had come down to meet with him, all behind my back,” Garcia said. “I placed a call to Steve Israel. He hasn’t returned my call. I’m not very happy about that.”

In a written statement, the congresswoman's spokesman Jonathan Beeton said: "The DCCC asked the Congresswoman to make a call to another candidate in South Florida. She does many calls to candidates for the DCCC and this was one of those calls."

Garcia acknowledges the high-level help for Penelas “doesn’t bode well. But it doesn’t say a lot of good things about the national party. At the very least, I was handled disrespectfully – maybe a little bit dishonestly.”

Garcia isn’t planning to go away.

“I don’t lay down for anybody,” said Garcia, a former Miami Beach city commissioner nicknamed “El Bombero" for his time as fire chief. "I'm not going quietly."

Garcia pointed out that, under Penelas, Miami-Dade lobbyists and friends of the mayor got rich off airport contracts. Also, he knocked Penelas for supporting a half-cent sales tax for transit projects that didn’t do much to help transit projects.


“A lot of the problems in the county go back to Penelas. He had a large staff,” Garcia said. “A lot of his flunkies went to work in transportation, for instance, and look at the state of Dade’s transportation system.”

Rivera, by contrast, had only kind words for Penelas. "I've always considered Alex a friend.  He campaigned for me when I first got elected.  We've worked together on efforts for pre-k education and St. Thomas University.  And his wife is a wonderful person."

Garcia said things were so different last spring when Charlie Kelly, the DCCC’s southern political director, went so far as to try to call Garcia’s wife to get him to run. Garcia was then flown to Washington and said he met with Israel.

“You have to do this for your country,” Israel said, according to Garcia.

“What do we need to do in the Hispanic Caucus to get you to run for Congress?” said California Rep. Xavier Becerra in a separate meeting.

Said Garcia: “I was really made to feel wanted.”

“The promised help never really materialized. The first time I was supposed to meet with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She kept postponing and postponing for two days and I couldn’t meet with her at the end because I didn’t want to miss my flight,” Garcia said.

He said he raised about $100,000 by mid-summer – without Wasserman Schultz’s help. But Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer helped steer about $12,000 to him.

When he went back to a party event in Washington, he said Wasserman Schultz was offensively blunt.

“Boy, you guys are pathetic. You didn’t raise enough money,” she said, according to Garcia.

“It was embarrassing. I don’t know why,” Garcia said. “I thought I had a good relationship with Debbie. I thought she would help me with fundraising in South Florida. But she never did.”

Comments

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Francisco

Luis, if you can't stand being snubbed by your own party, maybe you should consider it a sign they think you can't beat Rivera. I don't think Rivera will make it any easier for you either.

Demo-Nation

The ONLY Democrat in 2 decades to win over staunch Republican Cubans in Little Havana and beyond has no shot at beating Rivera?? Leave it to the Democratic Party and Debbie "What's Her Face" Schultz to screw this one up! Give 'em Hell, Louie!

Repubtallygirl

hahahahaha

whasup

Dishpan Debbie is the washer woman for the national Democratic party.

Kendall Voter

Lui they told you that you needed raise some serious money on your own. They told you that you needed to work hard. You did neither and worse yet, your laziness was compounded by your arrogance. Stop whinning and be a man. Another disaster campaign by Christian Ulvert.

Concerned Democrat

This is deeply disturbing. It seems like Wasserman is putting herself before the party. I've followed Luis since he was a City Commissioner in Miami Beach till his current position at the Florida House. I've seen Luis exude nothing but dedication and fairness to his community. The fact that he is not getting the support from Israel and Wasserman is baffling. I'm not a fan of the GOP but one thing they do excellently is promote and support their own. This practice is lost with the current DNC....What a shame....Shame on you Wasserman.

Ed

Boo, Freaking HOO!

Don;t ya' just LOVE it?

I do.

Concerned Democrat

Wow, This "Kendall Voter" seems to be a plant from the DCCC. This person certainly knows a-lot of what's going on. It would not surprise me if Wasserman herself was in-fact, the dreaded "Kendall Voter". Pretty classy Deb.

DEE

Tru dat!

The Unclean One

Don't you know how to collect bribes? You have to offer your soul, get on it Dems, I have a plan for you folks.

Dog of war

On their way to blowing it. They've spent millions trying to bet one of the cubans and nothing to show for it. Why would anyone contribute to such a campaign. You'd think Wasserman Shultz would know how to maneuver Miami politics. It's more of a litmus test for her than for Luis garcia. If they can't beat the wounded bird that Rivera is, then I wouldn't expect much from Wasserman Shultz. Loser.

Daniel

Washerface Schultz has a history of not helping Cuban-American democrats try to unseat the incumbents. She did the same thing in 2008. Had to be shamed nationally just to get her to back Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia. Wish the DNC could put in somebody who actually wants to win.

seuin pirson

Mr Garcia you need to have a real message to the people.Don,t waste time complaining,we need to take back the congress.I volunteered for you in 2010, i did not really feel any real drive to get the message out, I did it as a democrat. This time I am ready to help but we need to really feel the drive and energy to do so .Democrats need to talk about the healthcare not run away from it.Now the republicans are calling the mandandate a tax, ok so call it a tax,healthcare premium , healthcare insurance or whatever. Remind them not every one has to pay this if they already have insurance.Ask your audience -do they want to give up all the good things about this insurance, inumerate them with gusto.Romney does not care about the middle class and the poor.He used to care when he passed the Masschachuset healthcare law now he only cares for the 1%.Romney is not the one that will be running the government if he wins it will be the millionares and billionares who are waiting in the shadows for their pound of flesh, and Rover Norquist protecting the 5 digits that he needs Romney to sign his bills.
The republicans are coming with everything they have, talk about jobs and the immigration law that President Obama passed. Please energise your base, you may not have a lot of money but energise the grass roots, no time to whine.I am ready.

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