First, Hialeah deity Raul Martinez decides to run against Lincoln Diaz-Balart for a U.S. congressional seat. Now, news is out that Lincoln’s younger brother Mario is facing a similar challenge from none other than occasional Babalu Blog topic of conversation Joe Garcia.
From today’s Miami Herald:
Joe Garcia, the Democratic strategist and former Cuban American National Foundation director, will challenge incumbent Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart.
Garcia’s expected announcement Thursday comes on the heels of former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez’s decision to take on Díaz-Balart’s older brother, Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart.
”This is a unique time in American history and just sitting on the sidelines and cheering isn’t enough,” said Garcia, who plans to relinquish his post as chair of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party to run for the seat. “People of good conscience have to provide leadership and that’s something we’re sorely lacking in South Florida and have been for a long time.”
Mario Díaz-Balart, a Republican, was elected to Congress in 2002 from the West Miami-Dade congressional district he helped create as chairman of the state House’s congressional redistricting committee.
He said in an e-mailed statement that he welcomed the challenge.
”Elections are a wonderful part of the democratic process,” the statement said. “As I have always done, I will base my campaign on my extensive record of cutting taxes on our families and small businesses while delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for our community’s needs, including transportation, healthcare and education.”
Diaz-Balart, who has more than $465,000 in his reelection account, is a member of the House Budget Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Science and Technology Committee.
The sprawling district includes West Miami-Dade, a sliver of Monroe County and extends to Naples in Collier County.
I kind of feel left out in the Lincoln/Martinez duel because I don’t live in Lincoln’s district. However, I do have a say in the Mario/Garcia race since I live in Mario’s district, so I very much looking forward to what will undoubtedly be a very interesting campaign.
The South Florida Cuban-American Democrat delegation is putting a ton of its chips on the table in 2008. Gotta love it. Both races are going to answer a lot of questions and end any doubts regarding the state of Cuban-American politics in South Florida, circa 2008. It’s time to put up or shut up.
For pundits like us, it’s almost like heaven. Can’t wait to hear what Henry has to say about this one.