MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The candidates in Florida’s 25th Congressional District present starkly different choices for voters.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has served in Congress for 16 years and a state lawmaker for 14 years before that. Democrat Mary Barzee Flores has served as a circuit and federal judge, and before that as a federal public defender.
Florida's 25th Congressional District crosses the Everglades and spans Miami-Dade County's dense, urban, Hispanic neighborhoods as well as rural farming communities.
Diaz-Balart has powerful input on federal spending. He is proud of his record on affordable housing, Everglades restoration, tax cuts and as a voice for immigration reform and compromise.
“I talk about my record of getting things done. I have bipartisan support on specific issues. I have delivered billions upon billions of dollars,” Diaz-Balart said.
Barzee Flores' record is on the bench. She also favors a path to citizenship for Dreamers, stronger gun controls, criminal justice reform, stronger protections for workers and universal health care.
"I decided my cases on the merits,” Barzee Flores said.
Campaign advertisement has been harsh and negative on both sides, partly a sign of both parties’ fight for control of this important South Florida congressional seat.
While other South Florida congressional district seem more favorable to Democrats, Barzee Flores faces an uphill battle to unseat Diaz-Balart. Political pollsters such as Real Clear Politics and the Cook Political Report have rated the district as competitive but "likely Republican."