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Mucarsel-Powell to face incumbent Curbelo in November

District 'leans Republican' despite favoring Clinton in 2016

KEY WEST, Fla. – Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will face off against Republican incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th Congressional District.

With 64 percent of the vote, Mucarsel-Powell, a former associate dean at Florida International University, beat out primary opponent Demetries Grimes. Curbelo handily defeated Souraya Faas with 84 percent of the vote.

While the district, which covers the Florida Keys and parts of southwest Miami-Dade County, overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Curbelo, a moderate Republican, remains popular. The Cook Political Report characterizes the district as "leans Republican."

Many political observers expect a "Blue Wave" come November, with Democrats, fueled by high enthusiasm among the party faithful, taking back the House. If Democratic support and turnout is high, Curbelo could be vulnerable. 

Seeking a third term, Curbelo has broken with Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump on immigration issues. He supports a path to citizenship for undocumented young people who came to U.S. children, known as "Dreamers." He also strongly condemned the separation of children and parents at the U.S. border.

"I’ve always focused on the solutions to the big challenges that we face as a community and as a country," Curbelo said. "I look forward to having that debate over the next couple of months."

 Mucarsel-Powell said Curbelo's views don't reflect the 26th Congressional District.

“He takes thousands of dollars from oil and gas (industries), from big sugar, from the NRA. He’s not representing us. He’s representing his donors," she said.

Originally from Ecuador, Mucarsel-Powell plans to focus on immigration issues as well, taking aim at Trump's hard-line, "zero tolerance" policies.