How to appeal to voters in a district that includes conservative Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County and independent whites in the Florida Keys?
If you're U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, by releasing a pair of television advertisements Tuesday with different messages tailored to each demographic.
Garcia, a Miami Democrat seeking reelection to the Westchester-to-Key West 26h congressional district, unveiled the two 30-second ads: one to air in Miami-Dade, the other in Monroe. The stepped-up campaigning has coincided with news last week that federal authorities have intensifed their investigation into Garcia's unsuccessful 2010 congressional campaign.
The Miami-Dade ad, titled "What's Right," echoes a Spanish-language radio spot that began airing last week. It stresses Garcia's Cuban-American heritage and support for Medicare and accuses Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo of "rubber-stamp[ing] Rick Scott's Tea Party agenda," saying Curbelo "backs Rick Scott's massive cuts to our schools."
Curbelo was part of Scott's education transition team in 2010. But he also said in a letter to the Miami Herald editor in 2012 that the governor's education budget the previous year represented a "colossal" reduction to education. "I believe in innovation and efficiency, but the current situation is becoming untenable," he wrote.
The Keys ad, titled "Moving Forward," makes no reference to Cuba; Keys voters are known to favor increased ties to the island, as opposed to Miami exiles. Instead, the ad focuses on flood-insurance rates, a crucial regional issue. "Curbelo would remove the limits on flood insurance rates, letting costs skyrocket," Garcia says.
It's unclear what Garcia is basing that on; the ad doesn't cite a source, and Curbelo said in a televised debate last month that, like Garcia, he would have supported congressional legislation that capped annual premium increases. But Curbelo also said he considered the measure temporary.
Watch the two ads below.