Carlos Curbelo greeted mostly Republican voters Tuesday afternoon at a West Kendall polling place where the sky was blue, the wind was blowing and people were arriving at a slow but consistent clip.
"This morning we have a little rush, but that's it," Curbelo said.
He was the only candidate at John A. Ferguson Senior High School. A voter also named Carlos said today was his birthday. Curbelo pointed out that Nov. 4 -- Election Day -- is the Feast of St. Charles (San Carlos in Spanish) in the Roman Catholic church.
When the Republican congressional candidate, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, introduced himself to another voter, the voter replied, in Spanish, "I know who you are. I've seen you on TV."
"Pórtate bien," Juan Carlos Esquivel, a 49-year-old Republican, joked before walking into the precinct. "Behave."
After voting, Esquivel said he favored Curbelo because he's someone "defined, who's not switching positions to and fro."
Later, Curbelo stretched out his hand to greet a third voter, who shook it before he realized who Curbelo was.
"Oh, Carlos Curbelo! Take my picture with him," the voter told his companion in Spanish.
"This bodes well," Curbelo said.
The man, 67-year-old Gustavo Cruz, a registered Republican, pledged his family's five votes for Curbelo.
"Forty-nine years ago I was imprisoned in a Cuban concentration camp, and Joe Garcia says, 'Communism works,'" Cruz said in an interview after casting his ballot. "Yes, it works to do harm. That man over there," he added, pointing at Curbelo, "I've never seen do harm."
The voter was referring to a sardonic remark Garcia made earlier this year in which he criticized excessive U.S. government spending on the Mexican border. But Cruz seemed to take the comment literally.
"He's a crook," he said of the congressman.