Sunday, November 18, 2007

Door’s still open for Draft Joe Garcia – Raul Martinez, too

For those not on the email list of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party, here’s what Joe Garcia said in response to the rush of interest in drafting him for Congress: “While I am still far from making a decision, I do want to say that your kindness and support are very humbling and much appreciated!”

Regarding the on-line mention of his name having appeared in the Cuban regime newspaper Granma, he said, “Let me be clear that this paper is the communist propaganda newspaper and it makes assertions about the community and Congresspeople that are slanderous. And, although I may completely disagree with the Republican congressional delegation, these assertions by Granma are patently false.”

Granma had written an article about U.S. news reports on the South Florida congressional races and used its normal “Mafia” terminology in referring to the South Florida Republicans in Congress, This caused a little eruption of injured pride among some Cuban Americans. Garcia -- of Cuban background himself -- called one who protested, and issued his statement to make sure his distance from Havana was clear.

Garcia’s email concluded with mention of the new web site, so I think it’s safe to say he’s not against running against Mario Diaz-Balart in District 25. In an interview Friday with Nicole Sandler on WINZ AM940, he said it was a matter of convincing his wife and young daughter that it was right for the family.

Expect a decision by the second half of January, he said.

Uh, Joe, isn’t that when we’ll be in the thick of the runup to the Jan. 29 Florida presidential primary? Well, at least people will be thinking about politics.

Meanwhile, it’s heartening to hear enthusiasm for the Garcia candidacy. Nicole Sandler said on WINZ, “How awesome it would be to have Joe Garcia in the House of Representatives.”

On Stuck on the Palmetto, blogger Rick said he liked the way Joe debates the hardliners on the radio and provided a link to one of the best examples. I’ll repeat it here, along with Rick’s advice to let the link download, and then advance the slider to about 19:00. It runs for about a half-hour until the host, Henry Gomez, is so thoroughly defeated that he mutes Joe Garcia.

Rick concluded: “Joe has said he would run if he was asked. Let’s ask. Let’s start tossing out relics of the past and start looking forward.”

Meanwhile, there’s a growing web site to draft Raul Martinez, former mayor of Hialeah, to run for Congressional District 21, the seat held by Lincoln Diaz-Balart. You can hear Joe Garcia encouraging Martinez to run, in that clip on WINZ. Again, a decision likely in January.

Garcia said he knows of a handful of possible candidates to run against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Congressional District 18, and he’s encouraging them to consider it strongly.

What’s needed is a super majority in Congress to end the war and deal with health care – all the reverses needed after two terms of George W. Bush – and we should not shrink from thinking landslide Democratic victory in this supposed Republican stronghold.

Sweet dreams, everyone – five Democrats in the U.S. House from Miami-Dade.

We’re not the only ones thinking about it. From farther afield, hope springs from the Swing State Project, with a post that went up on Friday noting the moves to draft Garcia and Martinez. Read through the long string of comments to see how other races in Florida would be affected, and how progressives around the country will be encouraged to help us sweep the Republicans out in South Florida.

In case you forget how to get the links to draft Garcia and Martinez, they are on the main page of Miami-Dade Dems, in the Links section down in the right-hand column. Don't just sit there -- go to the sites and sign up!