Sabato's Crystal Ball

Florida (25) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Joe Garcia,’08 nominee/ex-Obama appointee

Republican candidate: David Rivera, state representative

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: August 13, 2010

With Republican incumbent Mario Diaz-Balart not running for reelection, the open seat for the 25th district has attracted candidates from both sides of the aisle ahead of the August 24th primary. The Republican candidates are State Rep. David Rivera, attorney Marili Cancio, conservative political analyst Paul Crespo. The Democratic candidates are ’08 nominee/ex-Obama appointee Joe Garcia and South Florida AFL-CIO Vice President Luis Meurice. Both parties appear to be in contentious fights to decide on a nominee. Joe Garcia and David Rivera lead the pack in terms of their cash on hand, with $1.19 million and $1.15 million respectively. The 25th district, given its demographics, is somewhat friendly to Republicans and this race Leans Republican.

Background:

Republican Mario Diaz-Balart is campaigning to represent the citizens of western Miami-Dade County and creatures of the Everglades for two more years. Since taking office in 2002, Diaz-Balart’s voter support has been steadily eroding. While he began his tenure with nearly 65 percent of the vote, his most recent election against former chair of the Metro-Dade Democratic Party, Joe Garcia, only delivered a victory margin of 6 percent. Republican presidential candidates have been trending along that same line too, as strong double-digit victories by George W. Bush against Gore and Kerry gave way to a nail-biting, one percent McCain win over Obama in 2008.

The ever-changing demographics of the district seem to favor stronger Democratic support. Currently, 74 percent of the district is considered a minority, predominantly Hispanic, and 46 percent of the people are actually foreign-born. Hispanics, though they tend to identify more as Democrats than Republicans according to the Pew Hispanic Center, lack the necessary party loyalty that is often needed to propel Democratic candidates to victory in traditionally Republican areas. Joe Garcia is speculating a rematch in 2010, but unless he can find a way to enthuse and turnout the diverse minorities of the 25th, he is going to have trouble. Perhaps the alligators and snakes of the Everglades could turnout to the polls for him.