Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Sea Change in South Florida Politics?

Miami New Times:

End of the Diaz-Balart Dynasty
The Republican brothers are headed for defeat, and Cuban-American politics will change forever.

By Francisco Alvarado

In less than two weeks, a South Florida political dynasty will almost certainly disappear. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, fierce anti-Communists who are indeed [Fidel] Castro’s nephews by a failed first marriage, will likely lose — victims of the anti-Republican discontent sweeping America. They are scions of a family that has dominated politics in both Havana and Washington for more than a half-century.

Until now, the Diaz-Balarts have skated through elections. But two Democratic challengers seem to have their number. Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez and onetime Cuban American National Foundation chief Joe Garcia have raised more than $2 million. Recently released polls by Telemundo 51 and the Rothenberg Report show the Republican siblings trailing the Dems or locked in a dead heat. The November 4 election will tip their way if Obama voters show in force, which is likely.

That result will forever alter U.S. policy toward Cuba. And it might signal a shift of the Republican party’s staunchest South Florida allies — Cuban-Americans.

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