February 03, 2016

Annette Taddeo weighs in on Joe Garcia running against her for Congress

@PatriciaMazzei

Here's what Annette Taddeo had to say about former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia jumping into the Democratic primary for his old congressional seat -- where Taddeo is already running.

Our South Florida families, workers and small business owners deserve a voice in Washington who will always speak for them.  I began this race for Congress nearly a year ago because as a mother and small business owner, I understand the needs of our communities and I want to be their voice and fight for them every single day.

As a member of Congress I will fight to raise the minimum wage, bring jobs back to our communities, ensure equal pay for women and to strengthen our schools. This is what our communities deserve, but sadly the 26th District has instead endured a series of politicians who've put self-interest first, acted unethically, and at times even acted illegally.  

It’s time to turn a new page in South Florida.  The communities of South Florida want an advocate whose only interest is helping our diverse neighborhoods and families thrive. We deserve a leader who will build on Obamacare, not repeal it.  Defend Planned Parenthood, not defund it.  Reject the anti-immigrant Party of Trump, not champion it.  We deserve a candidate who will bring South Florida’s values to Washington, not become part of the problem. That’s why I’m running and it’s why I’ve been so proud to receive the endorsements of individuals, businesses, unions and elected leaders across the 26th District.

Joe Garcia wants his old Miami seat in Congress back

@PatriciaMazzei

He’s made up his mind: Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia will run for Congress again this year, the Miami Democrat announced Wednesday. He will seek his old seat, which has been redrawn to now include more Democrats.

“We did great things when we were in Congress and I want to continue work on the issues that matter to South Florida, because we deserve better,” Garcia said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “We deserve quality jobs that pay a living wage, lower college tuition, action on climate change, and comprehensive immigration reform.”

Garcia lost his swing Westchester-to-Key West seat in an off-year election when fewer Democrats go to the polls. Running in a presidential year — and in a redrawn district that comfortably favored President Barack Obama in 2012 — Garcia hopes to have better luck, assuming he wins the primary.

Another Democrat, Annette Taddeo, who was Charlie Crist’s running mate in the 2014 Florida governor’s race, is already in the race.

More here.

UPDATED Florida GOP accuses Democrats of pushing out would-be congressional candidate, who says party had nothing to do with it

@PatriciaMazzei

The Republican Party of Florida accused national Democrats on Wednesday of trying to “manipulate” a Miami-based congressional district primary after a would-be Democratic contender announced he would run for the state Senate instead of Congress.

“The Democrat leadership in Washington has once again worked behind the scenes to manipulate the primary process in Florida’s 26th congressional district by pressuring Andrew Korge not to primary their chosen candidate Annette Taddeo,” the Florida GOP said in a statement.

Korge said nothing of the sort when he made his decision to run for state Senate public earlier Wednesday. He said he would have a bigger impact in Tallahassee than Washington.

“I love my Republican friends – they have a great sense of humor,” Korge said in response. “I appreciate that. Any time they’re making jokes instead of destroying our state, destroying our environment and destroying our schools, that’s better for all of us.”

Democratic Party leaders, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and Ben Ray Lujan, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have fundraised for Taddeo and made sure to note that they would prefer to avoid a primary that could bruise their candidate and force her to spend money before against another Democrat instead of against the incumbent Republican, Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

That’s typical party business. But the GOP used Korge’s announcement Wednesday to note that the DCCC once got involved in a shady 2010 race in the same congressional district. The committee sent out mailers to boost a ringer tea-party candidate as a way to hurt the Republican in the race and boost the Democrat.

“Their continuous urge and attempt to decide the election behind closed doors before Floridians get a chance to vote is unacceptable and offensive to our democratic process,” GOP spokesman Wadi Gaitan said.

UPDATE: Here's what DCCC spokesman Jerome House had to say in response: "This sounds like the Congressman Curbelo Democratic Conspiracy Theory, 2.0. Republicans have lost all hope of winning this Democratic-leaning district, and are therefore obsessed with fabricating drama to distract from Carlos Curbelo's record that fails South Floridians."

 

February 01, 2016

Miami Democrat running for Congress raises about $275K

@PatriciaMazzei

Annette Taddeo, the Democrat hoping to challenge Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, raised about $275,000 in the last three months of 2015, according to a report her campaign filed Sunday. 

That brings her total in the bank to about $463,000, still far behind the freshman incumbent, who collected about $450,000 last quarter and has some $1.5 million on hand.

Her campaign noted more than 5,200 individual donors have given to her effort.

"In the final months of the year she added $275,000, exceeding other Democratic challengers across the country," campaign manager Shaun Daniels said in a statement. "The early endorsements ranging from local activists to former mayors like Raul Martinez and Maurice Ferre and major organizations like SEIU are proof-positive that Annette is the best candidate to represent FL-26."

Other Democrats, particularly former Rep. Joe Garcia, have been flirting with running against Taddeo -- something national Republicans seem eager to see.

Republicans hit Miami Democratic congressional candidate with robocalls on Iran

@PatriciaMazzei

The National Republican Congressional Committee plans to hit voters in Florida's southernmost congressional district with robocalls starting Monday criticizing Annette Taddeo, the Democrat hoping to unseat incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

The automated messages, in English and in Spanish, focus on the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, and try to tie Taddeo to the agreement. She told the Miami Herald in September that she would have supported it had she been in Congress -- though she noted that "no deal is perfect," something omitted in the NRCC's robocalls. Curbelo opposed the deal.

"The people of South Florida should be alarmed that Annette Taddeo is so liberal that she would support a deal that our own Secretary of State admits will fund terrorist groups," the call says, referring to a statement by Secretary John Kerry, who acknowledged two weeks ago that the U.S. couldn't prevent some of its funds from probably winding up in the wrong hands.

Republicans are eager for a contested Democratic primary in the 26th district, which stretches from Westchester to Key West and now leans more Democratic than when Curbelo won it in 2014. Trying to weaken Taddeo might prompt other Democrats to take her on. Andrew Korge, the son of Hillary Clinton donor Chris Korge, was considering a challenge but has now gone back to mulling a Florida state Senate run. Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia appears poised to run again.

Read the full script of the robocall, and give it a listen:

Continue reading "Republicans hit Miami Democratic congressional candidate with robocalls on Iran" »

January 28, 2016

Miami congressman returns from Afghanistan trip

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@PatriciaMazzei

In his first overseas trip as part of a congressional delegation, Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo traveled to Afghanistan for four days last week, visiting U.S. service members stationed at military bases.

The trip was kept hush-hush due to security reasons, as most "codels" to dangerous places are, until after Curbelo and the three other members of Congress who took part returned safely home.

Curbelo and Democratic Reps. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut and Julia Brownley of California traveled at the invitation of U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. They visited the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, and three military bases in Bagram, Kandahar and Nangarhar. 

"I wanted to hear directly from the generals in the field," said Curbelo, a freshman. "When generals go and speak on the Hill and testify, they tend to feel scripted. When you go out to the field and meet with them in their offices, on their bases, you really get a better feeling of what the the challenges are, where we're failing, where we're succeeding."

Continue reading "Miami congressman returns from Afghanistan trip" »

Set to run for Congress in Miami, son of Hillary Clinton donor now also considering state Senate seat

@PatriciaMazzei

Andrew Korge let it be known two weeks ago that he intended to run for Congress as a Democrat in the Florida district now represented by Republican Carlos Curbelo.

But he has yet to file paperwork for his candidacy, and now he's taking a second look at running for Florida state Senate, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

"He has been approached by leaders in the community about running for District 39," Helena Poleo told the Miami Herald. "He hasn't made a decision yet."

Korge, a political novice and the son of Chris Korge, a prominent Hillary Clinton financial backer, had originally considered a Senate run. After new districts were redrawn and Miami Democratic Sen. Gwen Margolis said she'd seek reelection, however, Andrew Korge set his sights on Congress instead.

What's changed in the past two weeks? Two things: Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia sounded more serious about campaigning for his old seat again, taking on Democrat Annette Taddeo.

And word leaked from Tallahassee that a deal might be in the works between Sens. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, to avoid running against each other. Such an agreement could tacitly signal to other Democrats not to run against Flores.

Korge and other Democrats privately panned the notion of a deal, saying it wouldn't make sense for the party not to compete in new District 39, which leans Democratic. So does District 40, where Bullard and Flores live now. Both are heavily Hispanic. Neither Bullard nor Korge are.

January 27, 2016

Former Hialeah mayor Raul Martinez backs Annette Taddeo for Congress

@PatriciaMazzei

Here's a notable endorsement for Annette Taddeo, the Democrat running for Congress in Miami: She received the backing Wednesday of former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez.

Martinez, a fellow Democrat, has ties to former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia. Martinez's son, Raul Martinez Jr., worked for Garcia when he was in Congress.

The timing of the elder Martinez's endorsement seems squarely aimed at Garcia, who has said he's deciding in coming days whether he'll run again for the Westchester-to-Key West seat now held by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

In a statement provided by Taddeo's campaign, Martinez called her a friend.

"Annette represents the American Dream that so many people come to this country to pursue," he said. "Annette is the best choice in this election and she could serve long enough to gain seniority and really do a lot for our region."

January 26, 2016

Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo says he raised $450K and has $1.5M on hand

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo's campaign says it raked in nearly half a million dollars in the last three months of 2015 for his contested reelection campaign.

He raised $459,000 and has $1.51 cash on hand, campaign spokeswoman Nicole Rapanos told the Miami Herald. She said 45 percent of donations "came from South Floridians contributing $200 or less."

"We are confident that we will have ample resources to share Carlos' record of effective, bipartisan work in Congress on behalf of the people of South Dade and the Florida Keys," she said in a statement. Curbelo has been among the most prolific freshman Republican fundraisers.

Curbelo, who represents Westchester to Key West, is running in a redrawn swing district that now favors Democrats by a wider margin than when he ousted Democrat Joe Garcia in 2014. Garcia sounds like he wants to run again.

Democrat Annette Taddeo, who has lagged behind the incumbent's fundraising so far, has the party's backing in Washington D.C. She'll have to report her latest contributions by the end of the week; several House Democrats hosted fundraisers for her before the quarter ended Dec. 31. She has another one scheduled for Saturday -- in the new fundraising period -- with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján on Miami Beach.

 Andrew Korge, son of Hillary Clinton donor Chris Korge, has said he intends to seek the seat as well.

 

January 22, 2016

Joe Garcia says he'll decide on Miami congressional run in next week

@PatriciaMazzei

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia told the Miami Herald on Friday that he expects to make up his mind in the next week about whether to run for his old Miami congressional seat.

"I'm seriously considering it. The polls look very good for me," he said. "I'm going to make a decision in the next few days, in the next week."

The Democrat has been mulling a run for months. Some of his former aides -- and now Garcia himself -- have been working the phones to reach activists, donors and party leaders on what a campaign could look like.

A couple of markers suggested to party insiders that Garcia was seriously contemplating another campaign. The first was that the statute of limitations expired in early November in a federal investigation that led to the conviction of Garcia's former political adviser and chief of staff -- which meant Garcia himself could campaign without the shadow of the feds hanging over him. 

The second was that Garcia left his job at a Miami Beach investment bank in December, a move that was seen as potential preparation for a candidacy. He'd held the job for less than a year; Garcia said he's now working as an independent consultant.

One Democrat, Annette Taddeo, is already running, and another one, Andrew Korge, intends to seek the 26th district as well. It's currently represented by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who ousted Garcia in 2014. Since then, the district has been redrawn to benefit Democrats.