Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo will defeat Democratic former Rep. Joe Garcia in their rematch in Florida’s 26th District, The Associated Press projects.
Curbelo led Garcia 53 percent to 41 percent with 91 percent of precincts reporting.
Representing a district that President Barack Obama twice won, Curbelo was always going to be a top Democratic target this year. His district became slightly more Democratic in redistricting this year, putting him in even more danger.
He found himself on Roll Call’s list of the top 10 most vulnerable incumbents throughout the year, but he received credit from Republicans for staking out a moderate voting record.
He said as early as March that he could not support Donald Trump for president, but that didn’t stop Democrats from trying to tie the GOP freshman to the presidential nominee.
Democrats, however, didn’t get their preferred candidate in the August primary. Coming into Election Day, Curbleo’s race against Garcia was rated a Tossup by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
Garcia represented the Hispanic-majority district for a single term before being unseated by Curbelo two years ago.
Florida’s 26th District is the state’s southernmost district and includes Monroe County as well as parts of Miami-Dade County.
Prior to entering Congress, Curbelo founded and ran a media relations firm after college and was appointed to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2010. He was later elected to the Miami Dade County School Board that same year.
He was among a small group of Republicans who refused to endorse or vote for Trump. In Congress, he has served on the House Education and the Workforce, Small Business, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
A fiscal conservative, Curbelo lists deficit reduction among his top priorities and argues that, rather than relying on entitlement programs to help lower income earners, they should be empowered through education and overhauling healthcare. He voted for the House budget proposal in 2015 and pushes for tax changes.