Former educator secures Democratic nod to challenge Curbelo in Florida

Former educator secures Democratic nod to challenge Curbelo in Florida

Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell scored her party’s nomination on Tuesday, setting her up to challenge Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloProtecting the freedom to vote should be a bipartisan issue Former lawmakers sign brief countering Trump's claims of executive privilege in Jan. 6 investigation A conservative's faith argument for supporting LGBTQ rights MORE (R-Fla.) in Florida's 26th District.

Mucarsel-Powell won with 64 percent of the vote, edging out primary opponent Demetries Grimes who won 36 percent of the vote with 85 precincts reporting, according to a projection from the Associated Press.

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She will now face Curbelo to represent the South Florida district won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE by more than 16 points in 2016. The Cook Political Report ranks the race as "Lean Republican."

While Florida’s Democratic-leaning 26th District has widely been seen as prime pick-up territory for Democrats in their effort to flip control of the House, Murcasel-Powell starts the race by having to make up ground against Curbelo. 

A poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows Mucarsel-Powell trailing Curbelo 41-48 percent. But when respondents were given basic biographical information about the two candidates, they pulled even, 46-46 percent.

Mucarsel-Powell, a former associate dean at Florida International University who emigrated to the United States from Ecuador as a teenager, has talked up her policy proposals on gun control, health care and environmental protection.

Curbelo, who is running for a third term in the House, hasn’t shied away from criticizing Trump and his administration.

He was among the first Republican lawmakers to call for former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittUnderstanding the barriers between scientists, the public and the truth Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Trump-era EPA board member sues over firing MORE’s ouster, and has hit Trump over his attacks on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s investigation.

Curbelo has also been among a group of House Republicans pushing legislation to provide protections for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, while stepping up border security funding.

Mucarsel-Powell has also pledged to take swift action on immigration reform, vowing to push back on Trump’s hardline stance on the issue.