The 2020 presidential election is now in full swing and as Republicans continue to galvanize behind President Donald Trump after House Democrats voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry, several potential Republican candidates for office will now have to face their anti-Trump past.
Current Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Cuban-American immigrant, is expected to announce that he is running for congress in Florida’s 26th congressional district against freshman Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D).
Gimenez has won two countywide races for mayor and has a proven fundraising prowess, but his past support for Hillary Clinton could be an insurmountable hurdle for the former firefighter.
“But between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I’m not voting for Donald Trump. Obviously, I must be voting for Hillary Clinton.”-Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R)
During the 2016 presidential election cycle, because he took so much offense over what then-candidate Trump said about immigrants, and for what he was heard saying about women on a hot mic, Gimenez openly stated that he would be voting for Hillary Clinton over fellow Republican Trump, questioning his viability as president and suggesting that he quit the race.
“What he said in 2005 is despicable,” Gimenez said on CBS4’s “Facing South Florida.” “Donald Trump needs to step down. I don’t think he is viable as a presidential candidate.”
Gimenez will have a primary challenge to contend with, as current Republican congressional candidates Firefighter Omar Blanco and Restauranteur Irina Vilarino have already posted respectable fundraising numbers.
Like Gimenez, Vilarino immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba. Gimenez came here when the revolution broke out, while Vilarino was part of the Mariel boatlift, and has already been chastised for it by one of Omar Blanco’s campaign surrogates, who called her a “Marielita,” a derogatory term used for Cubans who immigrated to the U.S. when the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro opened the immigration floodgates.
Blanco, who is very popular in the community, having secured several key endorsements from County Commissioners, will also face a similar problem as Gimenez.
Just as Gimenez backed Clinton over Trump in 2016, Blanco supported self-styled socialist Democrat Andrew Gillum over Conservative Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during the 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida.
Blanco, who as the president of his firefighters’ union, cut Gillum a $3,000 check and sent out numerous anti-DeSantis emails and mailings in support of Gillum.
In the end, the Republican primary race will boil down to voters having to decide to support a pro-Trump candidate like Vilarino, or the labeled “never-Trumper” Gimenez, or Blanco, who backed an individual that continues to promote the current Progressive agenda.
The winner of the GOP primary race will then face Incumbent Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), who recently advocated and voted in favor of impeaching President Trump.
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell is a formidable and well-versed adversary, but the apparent centrist-turned-leftist legislator will have to explain to the Cuban and Venezuelan exile communities why she is part of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives, and why she pushed that body’s legislative agenda