MIAMI (WSVN) - Former congressman Joe Garcia is going up against fellow Democrat Annette Taddeo to be the democratic candidate to vie for the representative seat for Florida’s 26th congressional district.
“I enjoy public service, and I enjoy helping the people of South Florida,” Garcia said.
Garcia is hoping to reclaim the seat for Florida’s 26th congressional district, an area which encompasses most of Southwest Miami-Dade, down to Key West. Garcia lost the seat to current holder Carlos Curbelo in 2015. “This is a tremendous opportunity to take our voice to Washington, which is what I did when I was there,” he said.
However, before he can take on Curbelo in November, he must face fellow Democrat Annette Taddeo in the Aug. 30 primary.
Taddeo was born in Colombia to a Colombian mother and American father. She moved to the United States as a teen before building up a language translation business. She then set her sights to local Democratic politics. However, she has yet to win an elected office.
Taddeo has run in 2008, 2010 and in 2014 as Charlie Crist’s choice for Lieutenant Governor. “We need somebody that’s not a career politician, but somebody that knows what it’s like to build a business, to become one of the most successful small businesses in Florida,” Taddeo said.
Garcia ousted holder David Rivera in 2010 after Rivera and his campaign were accused of engineering a primary challenger against Garcia. A top staffer of Garcia’s was later indicted in a similar scheme. Garcia has never been charged with wrongdoing.
“This district has been through enough,” Taddeo said.
Garcia is confident he will emerge victorious. “People know me. They’ve known me for decades,” he said.
Garcia said he has a record to run on, pointing to issues like lowering student loan interest rates and preventing hikes in flood insurance costs. Garcia is also calling for a higher minimum wage and improvements to infrastructure. “The wonder of public service is you get up every morning and you start from scratch,” he said. “I know in South Florida, we need a change.”
Taddeo’s views are similar. She too is in favor of raising the minimum wage and says climate change, equal pay for equal work and paid family leave are priorities. “We need somebody who’s going to be a true champion for all the things we value and having a businesswoman and a working mom that’s going to be a voice at the table that we desperately need,” Taddeo said.
The Democratic Congressional Committee is backing Taddeo as part of its Red to Blue program, which works to replace Republican seats with Democrats. That backing gives her access to national fundraising.
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