Curbelo Lies About His Former Senior Aide’s Role In Violent Rally With Hate Group

Miami, FL – During a live debate on WLPG-10 this Sunday, Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo falsely claimed that his former senior aide was not part of a violent mob last Wednesday at an event in Coral Gables, in which members of a national hate group yelled profanities at his opponent, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, during a visit from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

But here’s the truth: Congressman Curbelo’s former field director and director of constituent services, Kevin Marino Cabrera, was caught on camera violently banging on the door and yelling aggressively at the hate rally in a video posted online.

Curbelo’s former aide was part of a violent rally planned by the chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, Nelson Díaz, along with the Proud Boys, a national hate group that saw at least two of its members arrested this week for spreading violence in New York and across the country.

Cabrera’s professional profile describes how he “began his political career (…) as a volunteer for Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s 2014 congressional campaign and subsequently joining the campaign as its Field Director. Kevin later served as the Director of Constituent Services in Congressman Curbelo’s district office,” according to a news report by radio host Grant Stern.

Curbelo (center) with his congressional staff; Cabrera is second from the right.

But this Sunday, Congressman Curbelo tried to deny the connection, falsely saying that “the gentleman she mentioned (Cabrera) was never a senior aide of mine.”

After Wednesday’s hateful rally, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Terrie Rizzo, called for Díaz to resign as head of the Miami-Dade GOP. Meanwhile, Congressman Curbelo and his campaign spent the day spreading divisive rhetoric, tweeting that “the ultra left wants to take over these districts.”

He changed course three days later, telling The Miami Herald on Saturday night that “political intoxication is a serious problem in our society.” But he flip-flopped again on Sunday’s debate, refusing to call for the resignation of Díaz as head of the Miami-Dade GOP, and falsely denying his former staffer’s role in the rally.

Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign responded on Sunday afternoon: “The violence we saw Wednesday has no place in our community, and Congressman Curbelo should apologize for fueling the flames of divisiveness in South Florida to boost his own campaign,” said Melvin Félix, spokesman for the Mucarsel-Powell campaign. “On this issue, as with so many others, Congressman Curbelo’s empty statements show a lack of courage and leadership. His failure to call for the resignation of Nelson Díaz, his failure to denounce his former staffer, and his failure to apologize to Debbie and the other women present Wednesday when given the chance, speaks volumes about a congressman who claims to care about civil discourse.”

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Carlos Curbelo Refuses to Debate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell on Telemundo

Miami, FL – Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign released the following statement this Friday after her opponent, Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, refused to participate in a debate on Telemundo 51, which was slated to be taped Thursday night and hosted by Alejandra Molina and Gloria Ordaz.

“It seems Congressman Curbelo would rather spend his days making up accusations on Twitter about debate dodging than actually showing up to debates,” said Melvin Félix, spokesman for the Mucarsel-Powell campaign. “Debbie was looking forward to debating her opponent on Telemundo last night, but Congressman Curbelo apparently declined several invitations to attend. He would rather run a campaign fueled by baseless attacks rather than explain to voters why he voted to give himself and his special interest donors a tax break, all while trying to take away healthcare from 100,000 people in the district.

“However, it comes as no surprise, given the congressman has refused to hold a town hall with members of the community since at least January 1, 2017.”

 

Mucarsel-Powell and her opponent are set to have an English-language debate on WPLG-10 this Sunday, October 21, hosted by Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg. Debbie has also accepted an invitation to debate Curbelo this Friday, October 19, on Caracol Radio with hosts Mario Andrés Moreno and Marcela Sarmiento.

Both candidates have previously faced off in two forums, one in Key West and another in Marathon.

  • Hometown! Forum in Key West (Sept. 17): link

  • Marathon Chamber of Commerce Forum (Oct. 1): link

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Mucarsel-Powell, Who Lost Father To Gun Violence, Denounces Tone-Deaf Attack Ad Featuring Man Pointing Gun

MIAMI – Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, denounced the latest shameful attack against her placed on television recently on behalf of her opponent, Republican Carlos Curbelo. The ad features an image of a man pointing a gun at the camera, a shameful and tone-deaf attack against a candidate whose own father was slain by a criminal with a gun.

“This is a reprehensible attack on Debbie and her family, especially when her father was killed at gunpoint on a day like today 23 years ago,” said Melvin Félix, spokesman for the campaign. “It’s disgusting that Republicans and Carlos Curbelo are now using violent images on television to keep spreading false narratives and distracting from Curbelo’s shameful record in Washington.”

Debbie’s father was killed by a criminal in Ecuador on October 18, 1995.

Just this week, Mucarsel-Powell released an ad in honor of her father, in which she talks about how she never got to say goodbye to him.

“I never said goodbye. My kids never met their grandfather. And this is the last photo I took with my father because he was killed by a criminal with a gun,” Mucarsel-Powell says in the ad. “So when I tell you Ill stand up to the NRA to protect our community, you can believe me.”

The ad, titled “Photo,” is the second ad that mentions Debbie’s father; earlier this year, she released one titled “October 18th.”

Debbie is committed to making sure other Americans don’t have to say goodbye to a loved one with a photo. That’s why she’s committed to enacting common-sense gun reform policies, including universal background checks, a ban on military-style assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.

She has criticized Congressman Curbelo for taking thousands of dollars from the NRA, and for voting to make it easier for people with mental illnesses to purchase guns.

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Powerful New TV Ad Focuses On Mucarsel-Powell’s Personal Gun Story

MIAMI – With three weeks to go before the general election, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is releasing her latest television ad this week. Titled “Photo,” the spot talks about how Debbie lost her father to gun violence when she was 24 years old.

“I never said goodbye. My kids never met their grandfather. And this is the last photo I took with my father because he was killed by a criminal with a gun,” Mucarsel-Powell says in the ad. “So when I tell you I’ll stand up to the NRA to protect our community, you can believe me.”

Mucarsel-Powell’s father was shot and killed in Ecuador on October 18, 1995.

Debbie is committed to making sure other Americans don’t have to say goodbye to a loved one with a photo. That’s why she’s committed to enacting common-sense gun reform policies, including universal background checks, a ban on military-style assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.

She has criticized Congressman Curbelo for taking thousands of dollars from the NRA, and for voting to make it easier for people with mental illnesses to purchase guns.

This is the second ad that reflects Debbie’s personal connection to the fight for gun reform; earlier this year, she released an ad titled “October 18th.”

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TRANSCRIPT:

Debbie to camera: I never said goodbye. My kids never met their grandfather.

Debbie to camera: And this is the last photo I took with my father because he was killed by a criminal with a gun.

Debbie to camera: So when I tell you I’ll stand up to the NRA to protect our community, you can believe me.

Debbie to camera: I’m Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. I’m running for Congress, and I approve this message, because no one should have to say goodbye to a loved one with a photo.

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Commissioner Eileen Higgins Endorses Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Miami, FL – Eileen Higgins, who was elected in June as Miami-Dade’s newest county commissioner, has endorsed Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

“Our South Florida communities continue to need real representation in Washington. I know Debbie will fight for us. She’ll put the health of our residents first, lead on the gun reforms we need to keep our neighborhoods safe, make public transportation funding a reality, and take the necessary steps we need to protect ourselves from climate change,” said Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 5. “We need bold, progressive leaders at all levels of government. I’m excited about all we can achieve for South Florida with Debbie as our next congresswoman.”

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Miami Herald Endorses Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Over Incumbent Carlos Curbelo In Florida’s 26th District

Miami, FL – On Sunday, the Miami Herald’s Editorial Board announced its support for Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell over incumbent Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo in the race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is the realer deal for District 26 and will advocate for its residents’ everyday interests,” the board wrote.

The editorial board members commended Debbie’s work as associate dean at the FIU Medical School, describing her as a “strong, consistent voice for a progressive push for humane and common-sense policies.” 

They also touted her support for common-sense gun reform policies like establishing universal background checks, closing the gun-show loophole and banning assault-style automatic weapons, as well as her commitment to creating a tax code that benefits working families instead of the wealthiest Americans.

In its endorsement of Mucarsel-Powell, the editorial board sharply criticized Congressman Curbelo’s record in Washington, reminding readers that Curbelo has voted with President Trump over 80% of the time on “policies that stand to do damage to his constituents.”

The board also blasted his inconsistent positions on gun reform and his votes to take away health care from over 100,000 people in the district. “(Mucarsel-Powell) understands that the healthcare program should be improved, not repealed,” the board wrote.

Additionally, the board members criticized Curbelo’s ineffectiveness when it came to protecting immigrants and passing a clean DREAM Act. In the end, they said, voters in Florida’s 26th Congressional District deserve a new voice in Congress: “…at a time when the Affordable Care Act remains on Republicans’ hit list, immigration reform is on life support and income inequality plagues this community, Curbelo’s efforts have not been good enough.”

With only three weeks to go before the election, Mucarsel-Powell has been aggressively working to show the clear contrast between herself and Curbelo. Several polls have shown her gaining ground against her opponent.

BACKGROUND:

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Black Economic Alliance Endorses Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Miami, FL – Black Economic Alliance, a national group that advocates for economic policies that provide better work, wages and wealth for Black Americans, has endorsed Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in her race to unseat Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo.

“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will fight for racial justice, an inclusive economy and better wages for every American,” said Akunna Cook, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance. “As we move to create a country that represents every single American, we must elect leaders like Debbie who will ensure Black Americans and Black children are not left behind in the journey towards progress.”

“We can work together to create an economy that works for everyone by prioritizing the policies that the Black Economic Alliance advocates for,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. “Whether we’re talking about health care or education or any other issue, the federal policies we’ve seen from this administration have affected minorities and working-class communities disproportionately. In Congress, I will continually strive to fulfill our nation’s promise of equal rights and opportunities for all of us, and the blueprint BEA lays out will help us reach that goal.”

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Mucarsel-Powell Raises Over $1.6 Million In Latest Quarter

Miami– In her race to unseat Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell raised over $1.6 million in the most recent quarter, her largest haul to date and the latest sign that she will be a strong challenger in next month’s election, thanks to the support of thousands in her community.

More than 70,000 donors gave an average contribution of about $13 over the past three months, which will empower Mucarsel-Powell to continue to get her message out to voters and let them know about Curbelo’s shameful voting record in Washington.

Average contribution

$13.35

Total Unique Donors

70,160


It’s the latest sign of momentum for the Democrat, who has surged in several consecutive polls with less than a month left before the general election:

  • She led Curbelo 50-48 in a poll conducted last week for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm, the first poll this cycle with a candidate in this district at 50%;

  • She led Curbelo by one point, 49-48, in a survey of 500 likely voters released last week by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research;

  • A similar survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP) showed Mucarsel-Powell leading Curbelo by one point, 45-44;

  • And an earlier poll commissioned by the New York Times showed Curbelo at 47-44, with 9% undecided.

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Mucarsel-Powell Campaign Sets The Record Straight On Debates

Miami– Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign released the following statement this Monday as her opponent, Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, is attempting to sell a bogus narrative regarding debates in the competitive race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

“Carlos Curbelo is either suffering from amnesia or purposely lying in order to distract from the fact that voters are turning on him, as they learn more about his terrible voting record,” said Melvin Félix, spokesman for the Mucarsel-Powell campaign. “Debbie looks forward to debating her opponent on the issues, and she has agreed to several debates and forums to remind voters that Curbelo has deceived them in Washington. And it’s comical that these name-calling tactics are coming from a congressman who has refused to hold a town hall with our community members since at least January 1, 2017.”

 

Here are the facts: Mucarsel-Powell has agreed to a Spanish-language debate with Congressman Curbelo this month on Telemundo, the highest-rated Spanish-language network in the country, as well as an English-language debate set for October 21 with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg on WPLG-10, which has been on the books for weeks. Mucarsel-Powell has also accepted an invitation to debate Curbelo on Caracol Radio with host Mario Andrés Moreno, but the congressman has yet to settle on a date for that face-off.

Additionally, Mucarsel-Powell has already faced Congressman Curbelo in two previous forums, one in Key West and another in Marathon, both within the last month. In case the congressman has forgotten, he (and voters) can access the full video of both of these head-to-head forums online:

  • Hometown! Forum in Key West (Sept. 17): link

  • Marathon Chamber of Commerce Forum (Oct. 1): link

Finally, as a reminder, Curbelo’s campaign began its name-calling campaign after four consecutive polls showed Mucarsel-Powell closing the gap on her opponent, with three of those polls showing her ahead by one or two points, all within the margin of error:

  • She led Curbelo 50-48 in a poll conducted last week for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm, the first poll this cycle with a candidate in this district at 50%;
  • She led Curbelo by one point, 49-48, in a survey of 500 likely voters released this week by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research;
  • A similar survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP) showed Mucarsel-Powell leading Curbelo by one point, 45-44;
  • And an earlier poll commissioned by the New York Times showed Curbelo at 47-44, with 9% undecided.
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Sierra Club Endorses Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Miami, FL – The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, has endorsed Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in her race to unseat Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, citing Mucarsel-Powell’s work at the Coral Restoration Foundation and her commitment to taking real steps to fight climate change.

“We are pleased to announce today that the Sierra Club officially endorses Debbie Mucarsel-Powell for election,” said David Harbeitner, Sierra Club Florida’s political chairman. “We are confident that she will work to protect Florida families’ health, air and water, and build a clean energy economy that works for Floridians.”

“We are deeply grateful to Debbie Mucarsel-Powell for her years of work restoring coral reefs in South Florida waters, and supporting novel efforts to grow corals in nurseries and replanting them in coral reefs. This has made her a witness to the adverse effects of climate change on our ocean environment. The current crisis in our Florida waters is an issue that Debbie will be ready to work on as soon as she is sworn in,” said Sierra Club’s Kent Harrison Robbins. “She is a true environmental champion who will fight to protect Florida’s clean air, clean water, our climate and natural treasures.”

Last week, Mucarsel-Powell also earned the support of Climate Hawks Vote, a national grassroots organization that advocates for environmental champions. In its endorsement announcement, the group slammed Congressman Curbelo for voting in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and for taking $10,000 each in campaign contributions from Exxon and Chevron; $5,000 each from Valero and Marathon Petroleum; and $1,000 each from American Petroleum Institute and American Gas Association.

A spokesperson for Climate Hawks Vote also labeled Curbelo “the leader of the Climate Peacocks, a group that she described as “Republicans who strut and squawk and say they want to do something on climate change, but end up voting just like all the rest of the fossil-fueled Republicans whenever climate bills come up.”

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing South Florida. 

Mucarsel-Powell released an underwater digital ad this month that draws attention to Republicans’ environmental inaction on issues like red tide, the blue-green algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee, and the continued threat of sea-level rise. 

Last Thursday, on the same day that Miami-Dade County announced that its shores are being impacted by red tide, Mucarsel-Powell criticized Curbelo for taking nearly $80,000 in campaign contributions from Big Sugar, an industry that has exacerbated Florida’s urgent water problems.

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