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Lincoln Diaz-Balart to retire

Florida Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart will call it quits today, retiring after nine terms representing a heavily Cuban-American district in the Miami area, according to a source briefed on the decision.

Diaz-Balart, whose younger brother, Mario, also holds a congressional seat in Florida, is the 18th Republican to retire this cycle and the second in two days. On Wednesday, Michigan Rep. Vern Ehlers (R) announced he would not be running again. (Democrats suffered a retirement on Wednesday as well with California Rep. Diane Watson stepping aside.)

Diaz-Balart has held the 21st district since 1992 when it was created in redistricting following the 1990 census. Diaz-Balart had few competitive races but in 2008 Democrats targeted him and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez raised and spent better than $1 million. Diaz-Balart, however, tripled that spending and won easily 58 percent to 42 percent even as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was carrying the district by a far more narrow 51 percent to 49 percent margin.

The seat -- thanks to the Republican lean of most Cuban Americans -- favors the GOP. Although McCain won narrowly, George W. Bush carried the district with 57 and 58 percent in 2004 and 2000, respectively.

Mario Diaz-Balart announced this afternoon that he will run for his brother's now open seat, vacating his 25th district -- a seat where McCain won only 50 percent in 2008 and where Mario Diaz-Balart won only 53 percent against Miami-Dade County Democratic Chairman Joe Garcia.

Garcia is reportedly interested in running again and would give Democrats a genuine pickup opportunity in the 25th if he did decide to make the contest. One complicating factor for Garcia is that he is currently working in an appointed post in the Obama Administration. Another Democrat mentioned is Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson who recently announced she would not seek re-election to her current post.

If Mario Diaz-Balart does leave the 25th, Republicans may well look to state Rep. David Rivera whose current state House seat shares significant population with the U.S. House seat.

There are now 31 total retirements in the House -- 18 on the Republican side and 13 for Democrats.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 11, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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I dislike the idea of political family dynasties. That is why I will never vote for Ms. Clinton to be POTUS. I was happy to learn that the Kennedy political legacy has come to an end. Likewise, I think that voters of Mr. Diaz-Balart's district should reject the candidacy of his brother, however, I suspect that won't be the case.

Posted by: koatz1 | February 12, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Of the 18 GOP retirements, 16 are in safe seats.

Of the 13 Democrat retirements, only 2 are in safe seats.

Posted by: Washington13 | February 11, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Here's evidence that Mrs. Palin will indeed run for president. From TPMuckraker:

"Brain Trust To Nowhere: Meet The Advisers Behind The Palin Road Show"
Who would have guessed she IS being handled?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 11, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

In addition to Joe Garcia and Katy Sorenson, another possible candidate for the Democrats in FL-25 is Manny Diaz, the previous Mayor of Miami. Last fall rumours were circulating in south Florida that he was thinking about jumping in to challenge Mario Diaz-Balart. Now that there is an opening, he'll probably look again at the race.

Garcia certainly ran a good campaign in 2008, he might have the name ID to win an open seat.

The Republican bench in the district is deep - count on a contested primary.

Posted by: terje1 | February 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

parkerfl1, I am wondering if there isn't an unstated youth movement going on in the GOP. This guy isn't elderly, but many of the congressmen who have pulled out are. We might be seeing a shift from the Goldwater-Reagan axis to a younger generation of small c conservatives in the GOP.

I guess that would make DeMint and Tanning Bed Boehner elder statesmen. hoo-boy.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Which lobbying firm is L. Diaz-Balart going to join? After all, there is more money to be made there than in the public sector.

Posted by: thephd | February 11, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

GOP retirements in the House are turning into a serious epidemic for the party. How are they supposed to regain control of Congress when 20 veterans are stepping aside opening up competitive races?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

drivl wrote:
he ought to be looking at cutting vast swaths of the federal budget
you mean like cutting unrequested fighters that the GOP promptly re-funded, or like the cutting of over-inflated contracts which certain Republican senators named Shelby demands be re-instated and holds the country hostage in the meantime? Or are you talking about reigning in healthcare costs, which is, natch, anathema to lobbiest-lard-fattened GOPers? Or are you talking about the tax cuts for Bush's white rich buddies that Republicans refuse to repeal? You know, the cuts that cost American taxpayers 2.4 TRILLION over their existence? We sure could've used that 2.4 tril, to, oh I don't know, TOTALLY fund all bailouts to date and still have a cool tril left?

Is that what you mean? Because I do not think you mean what you think you mean.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | February 11, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

In other news, newly-elected NJ Gov Chris Cristie sentenced NJ kids to life as idiots and set the "dumbest state" bar high (lookout, the South, NJ is gunning for you) by gutting education funds...because, as they keep reminding us, Republicans are totally for abstinance-only sex-ed, the 6,000 year history of the Universe, and creation "science" taught by Bible-wielding homeschoolers with 8th grade edumucations themselves, that is.
Enjoy that Republican Renaissance you voted for, suckers.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | February 11, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

And there's this whopper:

“Our real problem is not the spike in spending last year, or the lost, even the lost revenues last year, as significant as those are,” he said. “The real problem has to do with the fact that there is a just a mismatch between the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out. And that is going to require some big, tough choices that, so far, the political system has been unable to deal with.”

Obama's solution? Not to rein in the money that's going out, but to make sure more of your money is going in. But if the president were serious about fixing the deficit problem and about "changing how things work," he ought to be looking at cutting vast swaths of the federal budget rather than offering rosy outlooks, like the inclusion of revenue from as-yet-unpassed cap and trade legislation, which OMB Director Peter Orszag has always seen as a means to increase revenue.

Posted by: drivl | February 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse


'drivl, I can see you're not waiting for the government to legalize hallucinogens... perhaps if you pulled your head at least halfway out of Limbaugh's bum you'd have a clue about the reality of America (as opposed to your pure neocon fantasy).
You might even meet a girl who doesn't immediately get a restraining order against you, which I'm sure would be a new experience.'

damnedgentlemen -- 'drivl' is also the Gnome Formerly Known as Zouk or moonbat or snobama.

the restraining order is particularly classic.

Posted by: drindl | February 11, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

We have less than 3 years to go with Obama -

The mess is only going to get worse and worse over that time.

Next time, let's elect someone with some experience - someone who knows something about economics and business.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 11, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

drivl, I can see you're not waiting for the government to legalize hallucinogens... perhaps if you pulled your head at least halfway out of Limbaugh's bum you'd have a clue about the reality of America (as opposed to your pure neocon fantasy).
You might even meet a girl who doesn't immediately get a restraining order against you, which I'm sure would be a new experience.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | February 11, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The need is becoming more obvious by the day: He must overhaul his own team, replacing the admittedly brilliant advisers who helped elect him with others more capable of helping him govern. Getting elected and getting things done for the people are two different jobs.”

“The changes must go much deeper. Obama’s West Wing is filled with people who are in their jobs because of their Chicago connections or because they signed on with Obama early during his presidential campaign.”

“One problem is that they do not have sufficient experience at governing at the executive branch level. The deeper problem is that they are not listening to the people.”

Democrats are becoming a bit cynical about the supposed personal popularity of their president:

“Obama’s job approval ratings are sliding, but we Democrats are told not to worry. We are told that he remains personally popular with the American people.”

Yes, they really, really like the president but keep castigating him at every electoral opportunity. Democrats tend to be slow learners. They are genuinely surprised that the Obama presidency is unmitigated disaster. Wilder likens the recent democrat humiliations to the aphoristic canary in the coal mine:

The entire Obama campaign was based on mythology. His fictionalized life story created a captivating narrative. Millions were beguiled into believing that this man was something exceptional, even talismanic. “The One,” however, turned out to be nothing more than a Chicago politician with troubling associations and a cryptic past.

While the Obama presidency will be catastrophic for America, his campaign was a spectacular success. It took colossal skill to convince half of the voting population that Obama was qualified to be leader of the free world. No campaign has ever raised more money than Obama’s, and the campaign set new standards for exploiting technology and the media. The phantasm created was that such a spectacular campaign would somehow ensure a spectacular presidency.

Barack Obama doesn’t care about governing. His compulsion is to maintain his narcissistic supply; governing requires hard work, not exactly Obama’s bailiwick.

Posted by: drivl | February 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

There's some buzz going around the net over the question of what President Obama has done with the $1.4 million he won as part of the Nobel Peace Prize. Well before Obama accepted the award, the White House announced he would give the money to charity. Yet it's been two months since the president went to Oslo, and there's no word of him giving it away. Some commentators have speculated that Obama is hanging on to it himself.

Maybe this is another
"I will take public money" until I see the pile of money, that is.

Seems YOUR money is all that berry is willing to spend.

Posted by: drivl | February 11, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Iran makes first batch of higher enriched uranium
Iran works on blowing up the middle east while the White House worries we may be too fat.

Posted by: drivl | February 11, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

He could hide out in Miami drinking Cuba Libre’s with his terrorist buddies. Namely Orlando Bosch, who was involved in the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including members of the Cuban national fencing team. He was pardoned in 1992 by the elder Bush.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 11, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Why would his brother switch seats if he already is a congressman? Why wouldn't he just stay where he is and let someone else take his brother's seat? Seems to me that one of these seats will be in play for the democrats and who knows what will happen if Rubio wins the primary. That could put everything up in the air.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 11, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What the Helzz is a Cuban voting Rush-Pill-A-Can when this man voted for the Cuban Embargo!...It is now safe to Vote Democratic people so they can pass laws to benefit You and not the Rush-Pill-A-Can Constituents!.....

Posted by: rccooper43 | February 11, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot going on in Florida. With Rubio rallying the TEA people, will the GOP go for an uberconservative in this seat (or the 25th, if brother Mario tries to switch districts)? If they do, how does the math change?

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"There are now 31 total retirements in the House -- 18 on the Republican side and 13 for Democrats."

Conclusion: Dems in trouble? GOP majority coming soon? LOL. Bizarro World.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 11, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Oh, my gods! It's a flood of republican retirements! Two this week may encourage others to retire too! They're in deep trouble!"

What? That's what they said when a few democrats announced their retirements...

Posted by: thecorinthian | February 11, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

This district can swing wildly. Bob Dole won it by 6 points in 1996, after George HW Bush won it by something like 20 points. Bill Clinton signing the Helms-Burton Act definitely helped him among the Cuban community, although I don't remember if he signed it before or after he was reelected. Statewide Democrats can be very well here. Bob Graham and Bob Butterworth have gotten around 70% of the vote in some of their reelection bids. There are a ton of Cuban Americans in the legislature, mostly Republicans, who would love to run here. They should find a strong candidate, and there's a moderate Senate Republican - Alex de la Patilla is his name I think - who could definitely win this.

Posted by: joeyjoejoe | February 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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