Barely three months into his congressional career, Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo has drawn a re-election challenger: Democrat Annette Taddeo, who plans to formally announce her candidacy Monday.
“This race is not about Carlos. This is about the people of Florida 26 that I strongly believe need a voice in Washington,” Taddeo told the Miami Herald on Sunday, referring to Curbelo’s congressional district. “I’m not aligned with any special interest, and I’m going to Washington to be the voice for the middle class, for the small-business owners, for the working moms.”
Taddeo, who turns 48 on Tuesday, most recently ran for office last year as Charlie Crist’s running mate in the Florida governor’s race. They lost.
But Taddeo — who had previously waged unsuccessful campaigns for Miami-Dade County Commission in 2010 and for Congress in 2008 — received statewide publicity, met a wide range of donors and gained valuable political experience.
In 2016, Taddeo would vie for the nation’s most competitive Hispanic-majority district against the freshman Curbelo in a presidential-election year, when more liberal-leaning voters tend to go to the polls. The swing 26th congressional district narrowly favors Democrats, who comprise 35 percent of registered voters, compared to 34 percent Republican and 30 percent without party affiliation.
Curbelo defeated Rep. Joe Garcia by 3 percentage points in GOP-dominated year. But the Crist-Taddeo ticket won the district by 5 points over Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. In 2012, Garcia won by nearly 11 points, and President Obama by 7 points.