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Heavy-hitters back school board's Carlos Curbelo to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia


Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-Dade school board member and Republican consultant, today announced a congressional exploratory committee and finance team in a possible bid to take on U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in District 26, which stretches from SW 8th Street all the way to Key West's Southernmost Point.

Garcia is no easy target. He won his district by 11 percentage points against scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. David Rivera; and President Obama carried it by about 7.

But in some models, the district leans Republican or is a toss-up.

Curbelo brings political savvy, an emerging name in politics and a heavy-hitting finance team to the race. If Curbelo runs, it'll be tough to see how Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall can win the GOP primary.

Some names to watch for: Cesar Alvarez (Chairman of Greenberg Traurig), Armando Codina (Jeb Bush friend, developer; American Airlines and Home Depot Board of Directors), Remedios Diaz-Oliver (President of All American Containers and Director of US Cuba Democracy PAC), Tirso del Junco (past chairman of the California GOP and of the US Postal Board of Governors); media/political figure Justin Sayfie (founder of the Sayfie Review, former Bush spokesman), George LeMieux (former U.S. Senator), Kathleen Shanahan (businesswoman, Bush insider), Dean Cannon (lobbyist, past Florida House Speaker), Stanley Tate (Republican financier).

One name stands from the rest: Fred Estrada. He's a frequent Democratic contributor. And he's on the Republican's side.

The press release:

MIAMI- Today the Carlos Curbelo Congressional Exploratory Committee released its initial list of Finance Team members:

Gus Alfonso, Cesar Alvarez, Tony Argiz, Rex Barker, Rodney Barreto, Bertica Cabrera-Morris, Dean Cannon, David Cardenas, Armando Codina, Remedios Diaz-Oliver, Fred Estrada, Michael Hantman, Tirso del Junco, George LeMieux, Jonathan Leyva, Mike Lowell, Manny Medina, Michael Mendez, Scott Moss, Pedro Munilla, Mario Murgado, Bernie Navarro, Justin Sayfie, Kathleen Shanahan, Stanley Tate
Mercy Viana-Schlapp, Octavio Visiedo, Eric Zichella
"I thank each of these civic and business leaders for their commitment to our efforts. I believe the people of Congressional District 26 deserve an effective representative in Washington that makes education a national priority, promotes responsible economic growth, and fights for accountability and integrity in government. I grew up in Southwest Dade. My wife and I are raising our daughters here, and I have been honored to represent its residents since 2010 on the School Board. I look forward to continuing this conversation with our community," said Carlos Curbelo.

Curbelo has served the residents of Southwest Miami-Dade on the School Board since November of 2010. During this time, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has seen student performance improve and graduation rates reach record levels while spending on bureaucracy has decreased. Curbelo has voted to reduce the property tax rate every year since being elected to the Board.

"Carlos has a long history of community involvement. He represents a new generation of leaders who are prepared to serve our community and have a say in its most important decisions.  Carlos has shown great leadership on the School Board. We are proud to support him, and we look forward to his decision," said Tony Argiz.
Congressional District 26 spans from Southwest 8th Street in Miami-Dade County all the way to Key West in Monroe County. It is a diverse district that includes many young families concerned about their future and the future of their children.


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Can' take anymore

Will the voters of this district submit to the will of these caudillos and Tallahassee insiders? Hispanics surely must be finally seeing through the Republican smokescreen that hides the pervasive prejudice and hostility they face from the national GOP bosses.

More of the same

Another Charlie Crist man that was sent to work for George Lemieux. Typical political opportunist.


Argiz(us century bank fiasco), codina(another bush cronie), barreto(please scumbag), Navarro (Latin builder puppet), etc.... The usual list of people who have ruined our good city and have literally bought campaigns in the past by controlling the puppets like Lago in the last Gables election and Ralph Rosado in the next city of Miami election. I think voters are getting a bit smarter. Garcia will be re- elected,,..


Lets not forget Pedro Munillla of the famed Munilla brothers construction. Hety maybe Bruno Barreiro can join them on the finance team. They do good work together.. It's a sad day inMiami politics if this clown runs for office with these leeches by his side.


Pretty lame list of folks. Mainly second and third tier. How are they going to raise money for a Crist-crony gaming lobbyist who is despised by the entire Republican state legislative delegation? I guess the first tier is waiting for a serious candidate like Anitere Flores or Pepe Diaz.


Yes Pepe Diaz is first tier...


Charlie Crist made him who he is today and was his political mentor. Very close to each other.


Wow Joe Garcia's crew is out in full force tonight. Guess they are actually worried about Curbelo! Good for him!

Tam Post

This is the guy who called the origins of Planned Parenthood "fascist" on twitter, is a pro-life, Tea Party-affiliated wingnut. Real first tier candidate. Put together Allen West and David Rivera and you get Carlos Curbelo.

At least the campaign will be interesting. Decide wisely FL-26, Garcia has been a lot better than anyone expected...


Joe Garcia is done. He barely beat man who was under multiple investigations. Joe stock up on cufflinks and flags flow over the Capitol. You'll be back on south beach soon.

Belen Alumni

Congrats Mr. Curbelo. Happy to see a conservative of strong character and moral conviction rising through the ranks. Good luck in your upcoming election. You have our support.


It's good to see a great young leader emerge for the Republicans. Happy to see Carlos Curbelo step up for this challenge. Joe Garcia is not the kind of representation we need in Washington. The district probably knows that seeing how he ran like 3 times and only won when up against a candidate that will most likely get locked up.


Can a good dem run against this guy? He has ties to Enron and that Cuban foundation. Let the gop cater to big energy companies and right wing cubans Anyone? Taddeo?


Joe won an election by default and his crew knows it. They should be scared. This is just the refresher Washington needs, not someone who ran until a candidate was weak enough for him to beat them. Let's face it, had David Rivera not been tarnished by corruption and political scandal, Joe would have never lost like he did the 3 times prior. Enjoy the rest of your time in DC Garcia & Crew, it will be short lived.


Would have lost**


Curbelo helped my son get transferred from his highshool when he was being bullied. He's a hands on leader DC could learn from him.


This guy is Tea Party when convenient. He's a Charlie Crist politician.


Interesting choice of words for the headline - "unseat" instead of using the word "challenge". A little subliminal bias on the part of the editor or Mr. Caputo?


Steve, there probably aren't any good dems that have a shot of winning in this district. As slimy as Joe may be, he's probably the best we're gonna get for now. Crazy Cubans like Curbelo are the one's we need to keep out of office the most.


Daniel - I assume you are the same Daniel that took a death in a "crazy Cubans" family and used it as an opportunity to attack a man that has fought for you and your family in Washington, DC. That time he gave up was spent to make your life better. It is sick that you attack one by where they are from and are classless enough to not to respect a grieving family.

Why don't you try stating facts rather than your opinion which are clearly as out of touch as Joe Garcia.


Garcia is in trouble now he's listed as one of the most vulnerable house seats:



From the school yard to Washington, only in DisneyLand wishing upon a star?

Raymond Molina

It is true that Joe Garcia is not liked and was a political accident, his election to the Congress. He did not winm, David Rivera lost. But the District needs to elect a season individual with a strong reputation of having the legal background and experience to wage the battle that is needed in defense of the strong beliefs of the constituents of District 26,that will strenthen the Cuban American Congressional Delegation in Washington.
Carlos Curbelo is weak, and Joe Garcia, does not fit to represent the anti Castros policies we need to defend.
We need a person with a strong legal background, with the Conservative principels and the determination to confront the Obamas policies and the legacy of his policies.. Curbelo is a nice person, but far of what we need in Washington as a Congressman. We have better choices in the Republican Party that live in the District that will do a better and more professwional job in Congress for the District.


Is this THE Raymond Molina? The vote fraud king? Should be very interesting to see who he is recruiting. Probably some corrupt Republican. BEWARE!!!

Gus Ahedo

Congressional District 26, has a historic opportunity to elect a Republican Congressman, to bring the seat back to the right side of the isle in Washington.
Joe Garcia took the seat by default due to David Rivera’s shortcomings. District 26 in Washington needs someone with a strong Constitutional and legal background, with seasoned experience defending the issues that currently affects us. We need a qualified candidate to confront the Obama administration’s attacks on our Constitutional rights.
Joe Garcia is a rubber stamp of Obama; Carlos Curbelo is a weak candidate and lacks the legal and constitutional background to face the liberals in Washington. By the same token, Joe Martinez is equally unqualified
We need to take a close look at a prospective candidate by the name of Lorenzo “Larry” Palomares Starbuck, a Constitutional Attorney of Cuban American decent that has many bar exams and practices law in 32 jurisdictions. If he accepts to run for the Republican Party, he would be the best choice for South Florida District 26, and we would gain a representative in Washington that represents everybody in the District from Cuban Americans, Anglo Americans, or Latin Americans and/or any other nationality.


Raymond Molina

Since "Mary" who does not disclose her full name, posted a totally untrue, false, comment about me being the King of Voter Fraud. I choose to challange she/him, to prove that her comment is true. There is no place in this comming campaign for dirty politicts, like the ones Joe Carollo, played against my Mayoral race, and who sponsored a "caracter assasination" article by a leftist, Chilenian, reporter working for a leftist Democrat, weekly Miami paper, charged with lies, and unproven statements about me. Yes I will support a very qualified candidate, much honest than you Mary, for the 26 District Congressional seat. Please take your time to look his background up, because you will see that he is much better qualified than Joe Garcia, Carlos Curbelo, MacDougall and Martinez.

Raymond Molina

There is a urgent need to recapturfe the prestige of the Cuban American Delegation in Wahington.
Joe Garcias, voter fraud scandal, evidencing the same practices Nicolas Maduro, uses to get elected in Venezuela is a big deception to all, inclusive the Venezuelas he was trying to gain for his cause.
We have to select and Candidate with qualifications and experience to recuperate the prestige of the Cuban American Congressional Delegation in Washington.
Soon I will anounce who that Candidate could be.

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