(WSVN) - As Election Day draws closer, all eyes are on Florida’s 26th congressional district. It has been touted as one of the top races to watch as Republicans and Democrats duke it out for a majority in Washington. 7’s Craig Stevens has more on the candidates.

The 26th district includes a portion of South Miami-Dade, including Homestead, the Redlands and Kendale Lakes, as well as all of Monroe County.

Republican Carlos Curbelo has represented the district since 2014. This November, he’s being challenged by Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. She has worked for several nonprofits and most recently worked at Florida International University’s College of Medicine.

For both candidates, the environment is a huge issue.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.: “Sea level rise, the environment. We have big concerns about that.”

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “I want to ensure that we take immediate action as it relates to climate change, sea level rise. I really think that it’s one of the most pressing issues we’re facing.”

Mucarsel-Powell, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador as a teen, has made immigration a key topic of her campaign.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “We can’t lose sight of the fact that we have to protect ‘Dreamers.'”

Curbelo, the son of Cuban exiles, blames Democrats for blocking a bill that would have created a path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.: “We got 121 Republicans to support that legislation, no Democrats. This is again an example of how, on the issue of immigration, there are a lot of people in Washington who prefer the politics of immigration over the solutions for immigration.”

Health care has also taken center stage for the candidates. Mucarsel-Powell has criticized Curbelo’s support for repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “I saw Carlos Curbelo doing nothing, but then voting, being one of the decisive votes, to take away health care by taking away the Affordable Care Act.”

Curbelo defended his actions saying the health care law is flawed.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.: “I refuse to condemn my community and the country to a health care system burdened by ever increasing costs, fewer options, government threats and fines against citizens, rampant fraud, inefficiency and mismanagement.”

Both candidates agree it’s time to end the gridlock in Washington.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “I’m one of 435 members; we have to work together. The divisiveness has to stop.”

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.: “Sure, we have these differences, but let’s kind of meet in the middle and figure it out.”


Broward Sample Ballot

Miami-Dade Sample Ballot

Monroe County Sample Ballot:

Website for Carlos Curbelo:

Website for Debbie Mucarsel-Powell:

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