Mucarsel-Powell expected to face tough GOP Challenge

Mucarsel-Powell expected to face tough GOP Challenge

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
August 3, 2019

While national Democrats focus on nominating a presidential candidate that could defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, some Democratic-held House seats could be left up for grabs, even some of the most sought after seats.

In 2018, now-Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) ran a centrist-like campaign to defeat moderate Republican and then-Rep. Carlos Curbelo by the slimmest of margins.

Florida’s congressional district 26 leans Democrat, but barely, so to win the seat, candidates need to refrain from veering too far left or too far right.

While Mucarsel-Powell ran as a centrist and won in 2018, the 2020 election cycle will be very different, as the freshman congresswoman appears to have already solidified her progressives bona fides in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Progressive or Centrist?

Mucarsel-Powell received $5,600 from super-Progressive billionaire donor Tom Steyer after she announced her support for impeaching President Trump, but then voted against an impeachment resolution. We are a bit confused?

Her support for the “Green New Deal,” a carbon tax, impeachment of Trump, a minimum wage hike to $15/hr., and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, may not play well for her in her congressional district.

National Republicans have also been highly critical of Mucarsel-Powell, accusing her of voting alongside “socialist” Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D) 94% of the time, refusing to vote to condemn the “murderous socialist regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro,” not to mention voting against an emergency funding bill that would have directed funds to immigration detention facilities.

 “Debbie Mucarsel-Powell voted against condemning the murderous socialist regimes of Maduro and Chavez because she’s loyal to the socialist Democrats in Washington, not South Floridians.” –NRCC Spokeswoman Camille Gallo

Mucarsel-Powell did vote against the measure but has openly called for an end of the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and voted in favor of Venezuela TPS.

Votes are one thing, but as the old saying goes, “follow the money.”

Mucarsel-Powell has raised an impressive $1million for her congressional reelection campaign, while her Republican opponent, Restauranteur Irina Vilarino, raised $270,000 in her very first finance reporting cycle.

While Mucarsel-Powell’s is receiving the expected-Democratic Party donations, and in looking closely at her finance reports, there are quite a few progressives, like Tom Steyer, who has contributed to her campaign.

Of the $1 million dollars raised, $250,000 of that came from “other committees.”

It was expected that Democratic members of Congress, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would donate to the cause, but it was a bit surprising (not really) to see some very, very progressive groups backing her reelection bid.

Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, the Progressive Americans for Democracy PAC, and Progressive Turnout Project, as well as a slew of liberal and labor groups, all chipped in as much as $5,000 to help Mucarsel-Powell get reelected.

Vilarino, a Trump supporter and Cuban exile, will surely look to garner the support those CD 26 voters who feel let down by Mucarsel-Powell’s votes in the House, her perceived progressive ideology, and her disdain for President Donald Trump.

The anticipated Mucarsel-Powell vs. Vilarino election day cage match will most-likely be fought and won on political ideology.

This is a targeted raise for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), so if Vilarino continues at the pace she is going, expect the NRCC to once again pour millions of dollars in resources to take back this seat.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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