Voters re-elect U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo

Republican congressman ends Joe Garcia's comeback attempt

MIAMI – Republican Carlos Curbelo will be returning to Washington, ending Democrat Joe Garcia's bid to retake his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Curbelo, 36, defeated Garcia with 52 percent of the vote to win re-election Tuesday in Florida's 26th congressional district, which extends from Westchester to Key West. He celebrated at the Birdside Banquet Hall in west Miami-Dade County with his wife, Cecilia Curbelo. 

"I pledge to continue working to change the culture in Washington," Curbelo said.

Curbelo said his celebration was going to be brief, "because there is a lot of work to be done."

Garcia, who won about 41 percent of the votes, was at La Carreta Restaurant in Kendall after a long day of door-to-door campaigning and visiting polls. Before leaving with his parents, Garcia, 53, said he was "going home and going to sleep." His campaign later sent a statement.

"My work helping South Floridians is never done, so I will continue seeking new ways to do so," the statement said. 

Jeb Bush congratulated Curbelo on Twitter. 

"Proud of my friend," Bush said. "Well deserved win for a great Florida leader and congressman. We need more like him in Washington."

Two years ago, Curbelo ran against Garcia, who was then the incumbent.

This was the second time Curbelo, a former Miami-Dade County school board member and aide to former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, ran and defeated Garcia, the former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation. Two years ago, he beat him by four points. 

During both campaigns, Curbelo referenced that Garcia's former chief of staff was convicted of a misdemeanor over accusations that he secretly financed a tea-party candidate in 2010. The same chief of staff plead guilty in 2012 to an illegal absentee ballot scheme. 

Curbelo favors immigration reform, wants to reduce abortions, address climate change and support LGBT rights. 

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