Carlos Curbelo is Extremely Online.
The second-term congressman seeking to win reelection in the most Democratic-leaning district in the country held by a Republican is no fan of President Donald Trump’s governing style and temperament, but the pair share a love of scrolling through their phones and tweeting at all hours of the day.
“Sorry Donald Trump but I’m calling the new NAFTA, NAFTA — maybe NAFTA 2.0,” Curbelo tweeted in jest when Trump announced a new U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal recently. “Glad to see some progress on trade with our allies.”
A few minutes later, Curbelo tweeted his disapproval of Trump’s treatment of a reporter, when the president said, “I know you’re not thinking” to a journalist trying to ask him about the FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“If I think something’s terrible, I’m going to say it; if I think something’s funny, I’m going to say it,” Curbelo said. “I criticized [Trump] for the way he talked to that reporter. It pissed me off. She [the reporter] has the same name as my wife. Why do you have to be such a jerk?”
Curbelo, 38, is seeking to keep his seat for a third term in November, and he’s been in constant campaign mode since July 2013. But this time around he won’t be facing former Rep. Joe Garcia, whom he ousted by three percentage points in 2014 before beating him by more than 11 points in 2016 in a year where Trump was unpopular in the Miami-Dade portion of his district, which also includes the Florida Keys. His 2018 opponent is Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a former nonprofit fundraiser who ran an unsuccessful state Senate campaign two years ago in a district that overlaps with Curbelo’s Miami-to-Key West seat.
Mucarsel-Powell criticizes Curbelo’s votes in favor of the unsuccessful Obamacare repeal bill, and says his support of a successful tax overhaul he helped draft hurt working-class voters in a majority Latino district that includes more than 90,000 Obamacare recipients. She has recently outspent him on TV advertising, though Curbelo maintains a fundraising advantage in a race where both national parties are investing millions. The race is seen as a toss-up.
“The extreme left has spent millions here over the last five years attacking me and it hasn’t worked because my community knows me,” Curbelo said. “I know that this community does not want any party puppet to represent them in Washington.”