Not long ago, when Miami Democrat Joe Garcia was trying to get elected to one of the most volatile congressional seats in the country, he asked a stalwart friend if she could house a campaign worker who needed a place to stay.
That friend, Annette Taddeo, said yes.
Now Garcia is running again, this time as a former congressman two years out of office. His Democratic primary opponent is none other than his old friend: Taddeo.
And the motivation for her candidacy, as she explains it, is personal disappointment with Garcia, whose campaign got tied up in two separate criminal investigations connected to past elections shenanigans.
“That was just, to me, the ultimate kick in the gut,” she told the Miami Herald editorial board this week. “I don’t care that you’re a Democrat or a Republican — it’s just not right to play with the voters’ intent and to try to rig elections.”
Garcia, whose name is so well known in the district that he hasn’t spent serious money on the primary, maintains voters will see beyond his past legal troubles because they liked his work while in Congress.
“What you haven’t seen from me are false attacks,” he told the editorial board.
How Garcia and Taddeo went from chummy allies to tense rivals is a story about the extraordinary, often scandal-plagued politics of Florida’s 26th congressional district, a coveted prize among national Republicans and Democrats wrestling for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Photo credit: Emily Michot, Miami Herald staff