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Fundraiser for Carlos Curbelo's congressional campaign draws from GOP establishment


A host of Miami-Dade County Republicans are sponsoring a fundraising reception this month for Carlos Curbelo, who is one of several in the GOP looking to challenge Congressman Joe Garcia this fall.

An invitation for the Feb. 23 event lists no less than 13 current and former elected officials backing the event, including Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and his brother, Lincoln, and all three Miami Republicans in the Florida Senate. Also listed are six Miami state representatives.

The fundraiser will feature as a special guest Bill Bennett, a former U.S. education secretary in the Reagan administration. The suggested per-person contribution to Curbelo's campaign: $2,600.

Curbelo, a longtime aide to Lincoln Diaz-Balart, has been courting the party establishment that he is in many ways a part of, having worked on numerous campaigns. Now a School Board member, he still appears on radio and television as a GOP pundit of sorts -- free airtime that doesn't hurt when one is running for Congress.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, former Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, Miami lawyer Lorenzo "Larry" Palomares-Starbuck and Jose Felix Peixoto of Key Largo have also filed to run the GOP primary.