Florida’s 21st Congressional District

This contest was another manifestation of the Democratic strategy of trying to turn Cubans against Cubans. In this case the hand-selected candidate was long-term Hialeah mayor, and Luca Brasi look-alike, Raul Martinez. The Miami Herald billed this race as a “the battle of titans” but Martinez went down like the Titanic against Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart won this race easily with 57.8% of the vote (133,351) compared to 42.2% for Martinez (97,492), a difference of almost 36,000 votes.
Like Joe Garcia, Martinez was well-funded, raising more than $1.75 million. Theoretically Martinez was going to win Hialeah where he is very popular because, despite his history of corruption, many saw improvements in quality of life during his reign as the capo di tutti capi in that city.
The problem was that the same Hialeah voters that put Martinez into a non-partisan office time and again had also voted for Lincoln Diaz-Balart time and again. It wasn’t a sure thing that their personal loyalty to their former mayor would override their conservative viewpoints about national issues and their loyalty to the GOP. And Lincoln had never embarrassed them in Washington the way Martinez was liable to. This was guy who threatened talk radio show host Hank Goldberd, spit on a debate opponent and pummeled a protester in front of TV news cameras. The Anglos in the district may have been reluctant to vote for Martinez. At my polling place yesterday a gentleman in line was talking to another gentleman and said “I can’t vote for that scumbag Martinez, even though I’m a Democrat.” I suspect that was the case with quite a few voters.
One of the major flaws of the three Democrat challengers was that they tried to make the election a referendum on the war in Iraq and President Bush. The thing is those are non-starters among most Cuban-Americans. Being against a war that toppled a tyrannical dictator, are you kidding me? Many detractors say Bush has done nothing on the Cuba front, which is patently false, but Cubans recognize that it’s not just what you do but what you don’t do and what you don’t allow to happen. Castro did not get over on the U.S. during the 8 years of President Bush, something he has done with every Democrat president since 1960.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, like his brother, enjoyed a 2-1 lead among Cubans in an October poll conducted for Telemundo.
Interestingly, Martinez never conceded the race last night. It figures. It’s not like he was going to suddenly become classy.

2 thoughts on “Florida’s 21st Congressional District”

  1. I loved it,
    Raul Martinez steaming in his own juices and showing very little class in defeat, what else is new?
    The problem with Raul Martinez is that he got too used to his ways in his own private feudal kingdom of Hialeah were he was the omnipotent King ruling without meaningful opposition and did very much as he liked controlling politics there.
    He failed to understand that outside the gates of that independent, sovereign republic of Hialeah lays a much different political landscape and his banana republic tactics (already recorded on film) could not be used with the people of those outside communities.
    The best part of his defeat is that he is beginning to understand now that most likely he’s politically finished for good and this fact must be really getting to him, as he never tasted political defeat before.
    Only in Hialeah Raul Martinez could rule as a politician as he does have what it takes to belong in the US House of Representatives. Yesterday he learned that painful lesson and his ego must be hurting to say the least.
    I doubt that he could ever run again for anything outside the city gates of Hialeah as his bullshit finally caught up with him.
    Furthermore by not showing class in defeat he’ll end up damaging even further any future chances he could have on returning to politics years from now.
    All politicians encounter political defeats in their careers. The class they show while handling these defeats will endure them in the eyes of the electorate for years to come.

  2. Correction:
    Only in Hialeah Raul Martinez could rule as a politician as he does not have what it takes to belong in the US House of Representatives. Yesterday he learned that painful lesson and his ego must be hurting to say the least.

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