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Poll: Absentee-ballot scandal makes Miami Rep. Joe Garcia vulnerable in reelection

@PatriciaMazzei & @MarcACaputo

A leading rival of U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia released a new poll Monday that shows the incumbent has a double-digit lead but a major vulnerability: the absentee-ballot fraud scandal haunting his campaign.

The poll shows Garcia, a Miami Democrat, leading 46 percent to 34 percent in a potential 2014 matchup against Republican Carlos Curbelo, the Miami-Dade School Board member who commissioned the survey.

But among those who had heard about the Garcia campaign’s involvement in the fraudulent absentee-ballot requests scheme, the race is a “dead heat,” the poll says, with Curbelo leading Garcia 40 percent to 39 percent.

Garcia’s office said he is not worried about poll numbers but rather about building a track record as a first-year congressman.

“Even in a skewed partisan poll the Congressman remains very strong and likely to be re-elected,” Raul Martinez Jr., Garcia’s district director and political advisor, said in a statement. “Congressman Garcia is not focused on partisan politics. Congressman Garcia remains focused on serving the community by dealing with immigration reform, getting the country’s fiscal house in order and fueling the economic recovery.”

Garcia has been in damage control since May 31, when Miami-Dade state attorney’s office investigators raided three locations associated with his campaign manager and a former campaign worker who also served as his congressional spokesman.

More here.