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Heavy-hitters back school board's Carlos Curbelo to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia


Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-Dade school board member and Republican consultant, today announced a congressional exploratory committee and finance team in a possible bid to take on U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in District 26, which stretches from SW 8th Street all the way to Key West's Southernmost Point.

Garcia is no easy target. He won his district by 11 percentage points against scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. David Rivera; and President Obama carried it by about 7.

But in some models, the district leans Republican or is a toss-up.

Curbelo brings political savvy, an emerging name in politics and a heavy-hitting finance team to the race. If Curbelo runs, it'll be tough to see how Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall can win the GOP primary.

Some names to watch for: Cesar Alvarez (Chairman of Greenberg Traurig), Armando Codina (Jeb Bush friend, developer; American Airlines and Home Depot Board of Directors), Remedios Diaz-Oliver (President of All American Containers and Director of US Cuba Democracy PAC), Tirso del Junco (past chairman of the California GOP and of the US Postal Board of Governors); media/political figure Justin Sayfie (founder of the Sayfie Review, former Bush spokesman), George LeMieux (former U.S. Senator), Kathleen Shanahan (businesswoman, Bush insider), Dean Cannon (lobbyist, past Florida House Speaker), Stanley Tate (Republican financier).

One name stands from the rest: Fred Estrada. He's a frequent Democratic contributor. And he's on the Republican's side.

The press release:

MIAMI- Today the Carlos Curbelo Congressional Exploratory Committee released its initial list of Finance Team members:

Gus Alfonso, Cesar Alvarez, Tony Argiz, Rex Barker, Rodney Barreto, Bertica Cabrera-Morris, Dean Cannon, David Cardenas, Armando Codina, Remedios Diaz-Oliver, Fred Estrada, Michael Hantman, Tirso del Junco, George LeMieux, Jonathan Leyva, Mike Lowell, Manny Medina, Michael Mendez, Scott Moss, Pedro Munilla, Mario Murgado, Bernie Navarro, Justin Sayfie, Kathleen Shanahan, Stanley Tate
Mercy Viana-Schlapp, Octavio Visiedo, Eric Zichella
"I thank each of these civic and business leaders for their commitment to our efforts. I believe the people of Congressional District 26 deserve an effective representative in Washington that makes education a national priority, promotes responsible economic growth, and fights for accountability and integrity in government. I grew up in Southwest Dade. My wife and I are raising our daughters here, and I have been honored to represent its residents since 2010 on the School Board. I look forward to continuing this conversation with our community," said Carlos Curbelo.

Curbelo has served the residents of Southwest Miami-Dade on the School Board since November of 2010. During this time, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has seen student performance improve and graduation rates reach record levels while spending on bureaucracy has decreased. Curbelo has voted to reduce the property tax rate every year since being elected to the Board.

"Carlos has a long history of community involvement. He represents a new generation of leaders who are prepared to serve our community and have a say in its most important decisions.  Carlos has shown great leadership on the School Board. We are proud to support him, and we look forward to his decision," said Tony Argiz.
Congressional District 26 spans from Southwest 8th Street in Miami-Dade County all the way to Key West in Monroe County. It is a diverse district that includes many young families concerned about their future and the future of their children.