A second aide to Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., resigned last week as part of an ongoing election fraud investigation that continues to fester in the freshman’s office.
Garcia’s communications director, Giancarlo Sopo, submitted his resignation only weeks after Garcia’s chief of staff, Jeffrey Garcia (no relation to the congressman) resigned at the end of May.
“Giancarlo informed me on Friday that he was resigning,” Rep. Garcia said in a written statement to CQ Roll Call. “I thanked him for his service to our office. I understand that he is cooperating with investigators and hope that this will give him an opportunity to resolve this matter.”
The Miami Herald reported earlier on Monday:
Sopo had been placed on unpaid administrative leave last month, days after Miami-Dade prosecutors and police raided the home of one of his family members in connection with the scheme to request ballots for nearly 500 unsuspecting voters in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary.
Garcia said at the time that Sopo told him he was not involved in the ballot-requests plot.
“He said he did not do that, and I take him at his word,” Garcia said.
“He [Rep. Garcia] has been fully cooperative with the investigation,” Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney, told CQ Roll Call this afternoon. “We are in the process of evaluating the evidence.”
No arrests have been made so far.
In 2012, Garcia defeated then-Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., by 11 points. Rivera’s campaign was also dogged by ethical troubles.
Despite that large winning margin, Garcia remains one of the most vulnerable House Democrats of the 2014 cycle. House Republicans have made Florida’s 26th District a top priority, and the local GOP started talking up potential Garcia challengers as early as January.
Still, many top Democrats are sticking by the congressman, as evidenced by Democratic strategist James Carville sending out a fundraising email on his behalf.
The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race as Tossup/Tilt Democrat.