The LIBRE Initiative, a conservative Hispanic group, is launching a three-week Spanish-language television ad campaign against Congressman Joe Garcia, seizing on the Miami Democrat's recent sardonic remark that "communism works."
Garcia made the quip as a jab against Republicans for backing federal spending on border security that creates scores of local jobs. His opponents pounced, trying to make the most of the communism line among prized Miami Cuban-American voters.
But the Kendall-to-Key West district has a mix of Hispanic voters -- not just of those of Cuban descent -- and actually leans Democratic, voter registration-wise. The attack against Garcia didn't have the staying power of, say, a video in which he picked his ear, which was much more popular on YouTube. (The ad uses that footage, too, making a reference to telling Garcia "to put his lunch aside.")
The Washington-based LIBRE is using it as a way to highlight what it says is Garcia's support of government spending that has raised the federal debt. Last year, a round of LIBRE TV ads targeted Garcia over his support of Obamacare.
"It's no surprise therefore, that he thinks 'communism works' -- that when everyone works for the government, things are perfect. Many of his constituents fled from precisely this sort of system, and on a daily basis, they worry about those who continue to suffer under such an oppressive system. It's time for Congressman Garcia to listen to those who are calling for change."
Garcia has not only dismissed past criticism over the communism line -- he's embraced it, at least once defiantly repeating the phrase on Spanish-language radio. His campaign has made clear that the first-term congressman intends to highlight the powers of incumbency -- the meetings he can get with veterans over their health care, for example, or with Venezuelan-Americans concerned about politics back home -- over the day-to-day political fodder.
But there will be plenty of that. The GOP has its eye on the swing 26th Congressional District, and five Republican candidates have lined up to challenge Garcia: party favorite Carlos Curbelo, who is a Miami-Dade School Board member; ex-Congressman David Rivera; former County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez; Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall and attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck.