Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican David Rivera are running against each other to represent District 25 in the U.S. House, and while relations with Cuba have sometimes dominated the race, both are now addressing issues that interest non-Cuban Hispanic voters as well.
The Miami Herald‘s Naked Politics political blog reports:
In case the importance of the Colombian-American vote — and the non-Cuban Hispanic vote in general — in the congressional race between Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican David Rivera had escaped our notice, both candidates released statements Thursday over the reported death of a leader of a Colombian leftist rebel group.
Colombian authorities said a military attack killed Victor Julio Suarez Rojas — aka Julio Briceño, aka Luis Suarez, best known as “el Mono Jojoy” — a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
This prompted reaction from the two candidates vying to replace GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart in an increasingly diverse district — though the Cuban-American vote remains strong — that includes the Hammocks, a Kendall neighborhood in Miami-Dade considered to have one of the most dense population of Colombians outside that country.”
On Monday, Garcia posted on his campaign website a statement in Spanish following the Venezuelan General Assembly elections, and both candidates have declared their support for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, modeled on prior free-trade agreements, which is currently stalled in Congress.
Rich Templin, communications director of the Florida AFL-CIO, tells The Florida Independent, “We have endorsed Joe Garcia but we vigorously oppose his position on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. We think it’s unfortunate that Mr. Garcia has taken this position but he is the better choice for District 25 and our people down there are working hard to support him.”
An August 2010 Miami-Dade County voters demographic report (read it in full or download it below) shows that District 25 has about 327,000 voters — 210,000 of those voters are Hispanic.
The report indicates that about 85,000 of the Hispanic voters are Republican, almost 61,000 are Democrats and over 60,000 are listed with no party affiliation.