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National Journal: Joe Garcia's congressional seat among most likely to flip to GOP


National Journal took an early election year look Monday at the top 30 congressional seats that could switch political parties in the fall -- and Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia made the list.

The publication placed Garcia at number 15, citing Florida's 26 district as potential pickup for Republicans. Garcia defeated GOP Rep. David Rivera two years ago.

Rivera was plagued by scandals, as the list notes, but the new boundaries -- the district stretches from Kendall to Key West -- also meant President Obama won a majority of the vote in Florida's 26th. Garcia's office has had to deal with a scandal of its own; his former chief of staff was released from jail last month and is still under house arrest.

Though several Republicans have been eager to challenge Garcia, National Journal singled out Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo. Here's the blurb from the magazine's list:

Garcia is raising money hand-over-foot, but he's been dogged by a weird scandal (staffers of his plotted to fraudulently cast absentee ballots, apparently without the candidate's knowledge). Republican Carlos Curbelo could be a strong challenger. One underreported fact about this district: Garcia's 2012 victory is attributed to then-Rep. David Rivera's complete campaign meltdown amidst scandal but Obama's margin over Mitt Romney in the district was almost exactly the same as Garcia's over Rivera. Cuban-heavy Miami is experiencing something of a Democratic shift in national politics. GOP Gov. Rick Scott's approval could also be a problem for Republicans in the Sunshine State in November.

Three other Florida seats also made the list, including Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Jupiter Democrat, at number 19.