MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Republican incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart won re-election to a ninth House term, denying Democrats’ hopes for an additional seat.
Diaz-Balart as expected, had no issues defeating Democratic candidate Mary Barzee Flores for Florida’s 25th Congressional District.
Diaz-Balart had run unopposed during the last few elections in the Republican-leaning district.
The 25th Congressional District has the state’s most Hispanic-heavy and most Republican city of Hialeah. The district includes much of southwestern Miami-Dade County and much of the northern portion of the Everglades.
The Diaz-Balart name carries considerable weight in South Florida’s Hispanic community, particularly the Cuban American community.
His brother Jose is a well-known anchor for Spanish-language TV network Telemundo. His older brother Lincoln was also a Republican congressman. His family is well known for having stood against communism in Cuba. The irony is that his aunt was married to late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Diaz-Balart was first elected to Congress in 2002.
Many political pundits agree that his last serious challenger, prior to Tuesday’s race, was Joe García in 2008. Garcia was the former Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party. Díaz-Balart defeated Garcia with 53 percent of the vote.
In 2016, Democratic challenger Alina Valdes handily lost to Diaz-Balart, by a margin of 62.4% to 37.6%.
This time around his Democratic challenger was former Eleventh Circuit Court Judge Barzee Flores.
At first Barzee Flores intended to run for the 27th district, but then decided to run against Diaz-Balart.