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Ethics take center stage at Miami congressional debate


Bickering over ethics, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia and challenger Carlos Curbelo spent half of their first debate in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday arguing over which one of them has cleaner hands to represent Florida’s 26th congressional district.

The first half of the free-flowing Spanish-language debate focused on policy issues. The candidates highlighted differences over the Affordable Care Act, the minimum wage and Cuba.

But the rest of the hour-long exchange turned into a tit-for-tat over character and integrity — a line of attack that has been chiefly deployed by Curbelo and his Republican supporters against Garcia, the incumbent Miami Democrat.

“In the last few years, three people have ended up in jail: one, Joe Garcia’s chief of staff over absentee-ballot fraud in the 2012 election; the other two, for crimes committed by the Republican campaign of ex-Congressman David Rivera,” Curbelo said. “This is unacceptable.”

Garcia acknowledged past “mistakes” but pivoted to criticize Curbelo for repeatedly refusing to disclose the clients of his government and public relations firm, Capitol Gains.

More here.