FL-25: Joe Garcia Will Return; SSP Moves Race to Lean R

Some good news from CQ:

Former Miami-Dade County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia, who came 6 points shy of knocking off Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) in 2008, is throwing his hat back into the ring for another try this cycle.

Sources say Garcia will announce his candidacy for the now-open 25th district seat mid-next week. Garcia is known to be gathering his campaign team. […]

Garcia had a meeting with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) in late February after the Diaz-Balart’s announced their electoral plans and he was also encouraged by officials within the administration to take another look at the race. He may have finally been convinced to run by the results of a poll that the DCCC conducted on the race in late March.

“A Joe Garcia candidacy would instantly make this seat an excellent pick up opportunity,” DCCC spokesman Shripal Shah said on Friday.

This is a seat that’s been trending Democratic in recent years. As CQ notes in their full piece, Democrats have turned a 21,000-strong voter registration deficit in 2006 to a voter registration advantage of about 600 at the beginning of 2010. That shift has played out at the Presidential level, too: Obama lost this CD by only 1% in 2008, a big gain from John Kerry’s 12% loss in 2004.

Garcia proved himself to be a capable fundraiser and campaigner in 2008, raising $1.8 million and holding GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart to a six-point win. Garcia will need to bring his A-game this time, too, as his likely Republican opponent, state Rep. David Rivera, has announced that he’s hauled in over $700K in his first six weeks of campaigning.

UPDATE: With Garcia’s decision to enter the race, SSP is changing our rating of this contest from Likely R to Lean R.

27 thoughts on “FL-25: Joe Garcia Will Return; SSP Moves Race to Lean R”

  1. I think this district is somewhat immune to national trends. In fact, if a Republican wave really starts to form, I can see where this might turn into our third best pickup opportunity in the House (after cao and DE-AL). Hope it doesn’t come to that, though.

    I’m choosing to rate this one as tossup.

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