MIAMI ― Donald Trump’s attempted coup can have driven away barely enough Hispanic voters wary about autocracy in South Florida to present Democrats one shiny spot on a state congressional map aggressively gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s super PAC has announced it would spend $2 million to assist first-term Republican Rep. Maria Salazar hang on to her seat. The Cook Political Report moved its rating for the district from “likely” Republican to “lean” Republican.
“I suppose they’ve been seeing some polling,” Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo told a bunch of 100 volunteers gathered at her Coral Gables headquarters this week to arrange to knock on doors and make get-out-the-vote phone calls. “Kevin McCarthy knows that if he desires to get the gavel, he’s got to maintain this seat.”
Salazar’s campaign said she had “delivered over $17 million” in projects for her district and that her long profession in television news in Miami gives voters confidence in “her commitment to them.”
“That’s why she defeated an entrenched Democrat incumbent in 2020 and it’s why Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar will win re-election in November by defeating one other socialist profession politician,” her press office said in an announcement.
Her campaign, nonetheless, wouldn’t address HuffPost’s query regarding her view of the previous president’s actions leading as much as and on Jan. 6, 2021. And, in actual fact, Salazar voted against President Joe Biden’s laws that contained the projects she is now taking credit for.
Taddeo’s campaign is sharing in internal poll that shows a tied race. “We are able to win, and we will save democracy in the method,” she said, standing atop a desk between U.S. and Florida flags, with the flag of her native Colombia affixed to a wall behind her.
The seat, representing Florida’s twenty seventh Congressional District, had long been held by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican in a district that tended to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee. That made it a frequent goal for Democrats, who finally succeeded in 2018, a blue wave 12 months for House Democrats in the primary national election since Trump took office in 2017.
Democratic candidate for Congress Annette Taddeo rallies volunteers at her headquarters on Oct. 9 in her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Salazar.
“We are able to win, and we will save democracy in the method.”
– Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D)
But in 2020, Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton after which the president of the University of Miami, lost by 3 percentage points to Salazar, a television newscaster who loudly backed Trump, whilst Trump himself lost the district by 3 points to Joe Biden.
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who largely drew the state’s latest congressional map after vetoing a more moderate version drawn by Republicans within the state legislature, shored up Salazar’s seat barely by removing Democrat-rich Miami Beach from the district and adding more Hispanics in and around Little Havana. Under the brand new lines, the district would have voted for Trump over Biden by half a percentage point.
That presidential vote in 2020, though, took place before the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol that Trump incited as a part of his try and remain in power despite having lost the election to Biden. And that motion, in accordance with Taddeo and her supporters, turned off many residents who had fled and whose families had fled authoritarian regimes in Latin America, including Cuba.
Her campaign shows results from an internal poll finding that Trump now suffers from a 40-54 favorable-to-unfavorable ratio within the district, with 48% viewing him “very” unfavorably. Biden, in contrast, has a 49-45 favorable-to-unfavorable ratio, with only 37% seeing him “very” unfavorably.
Carolina Camps, president of Cuban American Women Supporting Democracy, began the group in the course of the coronavirus pandemic but saw membership grow rapidly after the Capitol riot, she said, when Cuban and other Hispanic voters saw Trump ― who had won Florida by accusing Biden of being a “socialist” ― refuse to just accept his election defeat. “We all know what autocracy is, and that’s where we’re heading,” Camps said.
Republicans dismiss that evaluation, arguing that it’s entirely logical for McCarthy to spend money on incumbents in seats with tight margins.
“The primary rule of fight club is to make sure that your fighters return,” said a top GOP consultant in Florida who spoke on condition of anonymity, who doubted that Salazar is in any danger of losing, given the favorable political environment for Republicans.
One other consultant acquainted with the spending from McCarthy’s Congressional Leadership Fund, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if ties to Trump and Jan. 6 were actually moving voters, Democrats can be including that of their ads ― and so they usually are not.
But Taddeo, whose current state Senate district includes much of the newly drawn congressional district, said the pictures from that day still resonate with families equivalent to hers who fled oppression. “We’ve seen those images on the TV, but we thought we’d never seen it in america,” she said.