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