National Republicans have taken sides in the primary to for Florida's 26th Congressional District.
On Thursday, the National Republican Congressional Committee moved up Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo in its "Young Guns" program, which identifies and helps top first-time candidates for Congress. The program has three tiers; Curbelo is now in the second one in the race against Miami Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia.
"Carlos Curbelo has reached the 'Contender' status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington D.C. to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington," NRCC Chairman Greg Walden,an Oregon Republican, said in a statement.
Democrats fired back by calling Young Guns a "dog and pony show."
"If Republicans think that voters will elect Curbelo to join them in Congress while he is supporting policies that hurt middle class Floridians, they're in for a surprise in November," the DCCC's Josh Schwerin said in a statement.
Partisan shots aside, it seems clear that the GOP is sending a message to the other four Republicans in the race -- Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez, attorney Lorenzo "Larry" Palomares-Starbuck and Key Largo resident Jose Felix Peixoto -- that party leaders have a favorite candidate, the one who has raised the most among them in campaign contributions.