MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Republican party would love to reclaim the Florida congressional seat currently held by Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
So two Republicans are squaring off to earn the right to oppose Mucarsel-Powell in November.
Congressional District 26th stretches from Miami’s Calle Ocho to Key West.
Joe Garcia, a Democrat, won the then newly created district in 2012. Republican Carlos Curbelo unseated Garcia in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016. The seat is now occupied by Murcasel-Powell.
In an effort to get the seat back, Republicans have called on Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to put the GOP in the win column. Gimenez can not run for mayor again because of term limits.
“Most of the people of Miami-Dade County in my district lie on the right and that is where I am, on the right. Unfortunately, my opponent is far left and that’s where she is going to find herself in trouble this election time,” said Gimenez.
The mayor is referring to Murcasel-Powell, not his opponent in the Republican Primary for the seat, Omar Blanco, who is a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue lieutenant. So why is Blanco running for the District 26 seat?
“The root and foundation of my decision were based on the lack of representation that we have in Washington here in District 26,” he said.
Blanco said he sees a far leftward trend among Democrats, Rep. Murcasel-Powell included.
“I think we need to get back to basics to some extent. We are seeing days when they want to defund the police and take away your Constitutional rights,” he said.
With years as the Mayor of Miami-Dade, earlier as a county commissioner, Gimenez said he’s the guy to beat Murcasel-Powell.
“I am the only person that can beat Debbie Muscarsel-Powell. The polls show that I can beat her. I don’t think he can. The important thing is to get that seat back and move our country is the right direction,” said Gimenez.
Not to be deterred Blanco keeps raising funds and picking up endorsements, including four from current Miami-Dade commissioners.
“There has been a groundswell from the community that feels we need to move on. Former Representative Trey Gowdy says it all the time, ‘if you want to change the way Washington is working, you have to change who you send up there’,” said Blanco.
For more on this year’s elections, go to cbsmiami.com/campaign2020.