Florida: Voters Head to Polls in Special House Election

Posted April 12, 2010 at 6:28pm

State Sen. Ted Deutch will be heavily favored today as the overwhelmingly Democratic 19th district votes in a special election to fill the seat of former Rep. Robert Wexler (D).

Deutch faces Republican Ed Lynch and Independent Jim McCormick.

President Barack Obama won two-thirds of the district’s vote in the 2008 presidential election. But special elections can have very low turnout, so the Republican candidate could have a better shot than GOP hopefuls normally do there.

The special election was scheduled after Wexler resigned in December to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace.

Deutch was endorsed by Wexler.

He had raised about $1.4 million for his bid and had spent about $1.2 million by the end of March.

Lynch had raised about $100,000 for his bid and had spent about $80,000 by the end of March.

Lynch, who had tried to unseat Wexler in 2008, eked out a slim victory over Joe Budd in the GOP primary in February.

Garcia Taking Another Shot at Diaz-Balart Seat

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 ready to run for Congress again.

Sources say Garcia will announce his candidacy for the now-open 25th district seat this week.

Garcia had been much sought-after by party officials in the wake of Diaz-Balart’s decision earlier this year to run in the neighboring 21st district seat that is being vacated by his brother, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R).

“A Joe Garcia candidacy would instantly make this seat an excellent pickup opportunity,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Shripal Shah said.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos countered that the Democrats recruited Garcia to be “a reliable tax-raiser and rubber stamp as they lead our country down the wrong path.”

In his 2008 run, Garcia raised about $1.8 million. He was outspent by Mario Diaz-Balart by about $800,000, but the financial playing field should be a little more even in an open-seat race.

On the GOP side, state Rep. David Rivera announced that he had raised more than $700,000 in six weeks of campaigning. He is in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program.

State Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R) also is considering running for the seat.