Decision 2020: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell vs. Carlos Giménez (FL-26)

Ryan Cialone ’23

The race in Florida’s 26th congressional district is shaping up to be an interesting one indeed. The two contenders are the incumbent Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, elected in 2018, and the challenging Republican and Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Giménez. In regard to the race at hand, the incumbent Mucarsel-Powell is expected to retain her seat only slightly with the website 270 to Win predicting she is estimated to pull ahead at about 1.7%. This is to be expected as according to Ballotpedia Mucarsel-Powell only pulled ahead in 2018 unseating the Republican incumbent, Carlos Curbelo, by 1.8% of the vote. The race itself is not a “gimmie” as it were for Mucarsel-Powell as even for an incumbent those are very slim margins to win by.  Carlos Gimenez is as stated the Mayor of Miami-Dade County and was able to get elected twice so his supporter base is nothing to disregard especially due to past Republicans holding Mucaresl-Powell’s seat, showing that conservatives have support in the area.

FL-26. Starrfruit via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Carlos Giménez. Ryan Holloway/ Armando Rodriguez Miami-Dade County Photographers via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Regarding the candidates themselves, Carlos Giménez was born in 1954 in Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. in 1960 with his family fleeing the communist Castro regime and spent his time up until his election as Mayor of Miami-Dade County working primarily in the Miami-Dade Fire Department. As Mayor,  his campaign website notes that he focused on issues such as balancing the county’s budget without raising taxes. Meanwhile, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell was born in Ecuador in 1971 and moved to the U.S. when she was young. After college, her campaign website notes that she worked at many non-profit organizations in Miami-Dade County. She was elected to Congress in 2018.

In terms of what has been happening during the election trail at large there has been some controversy in recent weeks according to FLAPOL. Both sides have accused the other of using their positions to directly support business ventures that can be tided back to members of their families. There has also been the controversy of Giménez not agreeing as of yet to three upcoming debates which Mucarsel-Powell has already done. The Democrats have taken this opportunity to spin it as Giménez hiding in shame from the corruption allegations. Yet no formal investigation has been done on either candidate in that matter and it looks unlikely that there ever will be.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. House of Representatives via Wikimedia Commons.

In terms of campaign financing, according to OpenSecrets.org, Mucarsel-Powell has raised the most money, almost $4 million. Giménez has only been able to raise about a little over $1 million. This should give Mucarsel-Powell an extra edge over Giménez.

This race factors into the larger election because there is a realistic chance that this seat will flip Republican. If enough other seats do the same it could dethrone the Democratic majority in Congress which could allow the Trump administration the ability to pass legislation unimpeded if Republicans hold the White House and Senate, or oppose the new Biden Administration if he is elected.

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