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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Florida -- 21

Lincoln Diaz-Balart To Retire

UPDATE: Diaz-Balart announced his retirement at a news conference earlier today.

"Today I am announcing that I will not seek a tenth term in the United States Congress this November," said Diaz-Balart, who noted he will be returning to practicing law.

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions released the following statement:

"Lincoln Diaz-Balart has been a strong voice for South Floridians in Washington for nearly two decades and we are grateful for his commitment to the legislative process as a member of the House Rules Committee and his constituents back home. His tireless fight against Communism and his efforts to promote free markets have made a significant contribution to the cause of freedom around the world. While Congressman Diaz-Balart will be missed by his colleagues, we are confident that voters in South Florida will continue their tradition of sending a Republican to Congress in 2010."

Original Post:

Florida Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart is expected to announce his retirement today at a press conference at Florida International University in Miami, Miami Herald reports. The nine-term congressman marks the 18th Republican to retire this cycle.

That may come as a surprise but not a total shock -- remember the Miami Republican months ago had signaled he'd be willing to retire if Charlie Crist appointed him to the US Senate for a caretaker job?

Word is his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, will run for Lincoln's seat -- a safer Republican district. That would open up Mario's seat. There's no clear Republican front runner, but David Rivera and Anitere Flores are running for a state Senate seat that is almost fully contained in the congressional district.

And there's speculation the open seat could entice Democrat Joe Garcia to try again. Garcia came close to ousting the younger Diaz-Balart in 2008, but is now working in Washington for the Obama administration.

First elected in 1992 to the Miami-based 21st District, Diaz-Balart ran unopposed in five of his first six elections, and won with 58% in 2008 -- higher than John McCain's 51%.

Today's news comes one day after Michigan Republican Vern Ehlers announced his retirement.

FL 21: L. Diaz-Balart (R) +1

The economy is even impacting the vulnerability of incumbents like eight-term Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Miami-Dade County, who's used to comfortable re-elections. A Research 2000/Daily Kos poll of 400 likely voters was conducted 10/20-23 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Diaz-Balart and Ex-Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
L. Diaz-Balart (R)...45 / 10 / 83 / 44 / 48 / 42
Martinez (D).........44 / 81 / 5 / 43 / 43 / 45

Martinez is the latest target of a new NRCC ad as the party works with its limited resources to protect every incumbent it can. Democrats have already spent $550,000 for Martinez, who trails Diaz-Balart in cash-on-hand by a two-to-one margin.

FL 18, 21, 25: GOP Leads

Time to debunk the myth of the Cuban voter flocking to the Democratic Party. The GOP still has a solid grasp on Cuban-Americans, but the rise to power of non-Cuban Hispanics could dramatically alter the South Florida political landscape in coming years. New independent polls of three majority-Hispanic districts in South Florida show that tipping point isn't quite here yet.

The polls, conducted by the McDonald Group for Telemundo 51 in Miami, surveyed 300 voters per district between 9/27-10/1 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. In the state's Eighteenth District, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo were tested. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and the former Democratic mayor of Hialeah, Raul Martinez, were tested in the Twenty-First District. And Twenty-Fifth District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was tested against former Miami-Dade County Democratic chairman Joe Garcia.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Cub / His / Oth)
Eighteenth District
Ros-Lehtinen......48
Taddeo...............35

Twenty-First District
L. Diaz-Balart.....48 / 8 / 89 / 32 / 61 / 37 / 39
Martinez.............43 / 83 / 4 / 51 / 30 / 53 / 47

Twenty-Fifth District
M. Diaz-Balart....43 / 7 / 82 / 38 / 59 / 36 / 37
Garcia................41 / 81 / 3 / 44 / 30 / 49 / 41

(Note: "Cub" is Cuban voters. "His" is non-Cuban Hispanic voters. "Oth" is all other races. Full results for the Eighteenth District will be released on tonight's newscast)

Cuban voters still overwhelmingly favor Republicans, but other Hispanic voters are helping Democrats make up the difference.