Politics

Republican Takes Seat Back From Dems In Florida

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Well-known Republican Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez clinched the victory in a close race with first-term Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

Gimenez’s victory, called by the Associated Press, chips away at Democratic leanings in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which includes the southwest portion of Miami-Dade County. The district went for Hillary Clinton by 16 points in 2016, but voters split the ticket that year, keeping former GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo in his seat by a 12-point margin. Mucarsel-Powell edged Curbelo out by just 2 points in 2018.

“I promise you I’ll be a much more effective congressperson and reach across the aisle,” Gimenez said in remarks in front of his house, declaring victory. “I won’t be as partisan as my predecessor.”

It’s a blow for Democrats. Several rating agencies, including the Cook Political Report, had moved the race to “lean Democratic” in the final days of the campaign.

“This will surprise a lot of elections prognosticators and sound alarm bells inside the Democratic Party,” Curbelo said in a tweet.

Gimenez’s win is also an optimistic sign for President Trump, suggesting that he may have closed some of his gap in the district by winning back some Latino voters. Roughly two-thirds of the district’s voters are Latino, including many Cuban Americans who tend to lean Republican. Gimenez immigrated from Cuba when he was a young boy.

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