Robert Ascensio has a compelling narrative, but is it the right one for south Florida? I guess we will find out in about a month or so!
- He was born in Brooklyn, and moved to Puerto Rico as a child. He finally moved to South Florida with his mom and cleared out of an abusive home at the age of 15. He knows how tough life can be.
- He joined the military and served for 6 years during the Cold War. He was a supply officer for his unit in various locations across the globe. He also earned his GED during this six year period.
- The joined the Miami-Dade Schools police force after leaving the military, and spent 26 years on the force. He retired as a captain and then eventually ran for the State House. He spent one term from 2016-2018 in that chamber.
The issues page on his website was quite disappointing. Other than one line for each entry, Ascensio did not expound upon each priority or issue his campaign is stressing. I had to comb his social media to get a clearer picture.
Climate Change: Miami floods with every tide it seems, and this is the #1 issue on his Twitter page. Ascensio would seek infrastructure improvements to make Miami more immune to rising sea levels. He would also invest in green technology to limit further damage to our planet.
Health Care and Abortion: The second issue I saw a lot of on his social media is him taking the incumbent to task on voting against abortion rights. Ascensio is pro-choice and would codify Roe into law. He would also add a public option to the ACA to strengthen it.
Defending Democracy: Ascensio seeks to make it easier to vote in America, while also preventing GQP attempts to suppress the voices of people of color. He would likely do this through supporting the John Lewis VRA Act.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: TFG (R-inc) 52.8%, Joe Biden (D) 46.5%
2020 House (as the 26th district): Carlos Giménez (R) 51.7%, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-inc) 48.3%
2022 PVI: R+2
2022 Race Rating: Safe Republican
Florida has had three Hispanic districts in the Miami area since 2000. This particular one has traditionally been the most competitive out of the three of them, as one of them is hopelessly red and the other one had a longtime incumbent (until 2018). Even so, this district has had GQP representation most of the time, as the voters there typically have fled from socialist regimes. That makes it tough for the Democratic Party to compete.
We did break through in this district in 2012 with former Rep. Joe Garcia. He defeated a scandal tarred incumbent by a narrow margin, only to lose to former Rep. Carlos Curbelo during the 2014 red wave election. That typified the election pattern in the previous decade — our party would narrowly win the seat, only to be swept away in the next election.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won this district by a 57-41 margin, but that didn’t help down the ballot, as Curbelo was re-elected easily over Joe Garcia. It took the 2018 blue wave election to win back this seat narrowly through former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. She also only lasted two years, as current Rep. Carlos Giménez defeated her by using the dreaded “socialist” label.
I currently do not trust in our ability to win this district back. Spanish language misinformation is rampant in the Miami area, and it feeds directly into pre-existing fears of the voters there. There was a reason TFG did so well in the area, and until our party figures it out and comes up with an effective way to counter it I don’t think the area will be competitive. I hope for our sakes it is soon, because Florida as a state is not competitive unless we do well in the Miami area.
Political Tour of the District
I’m not going to lie. This district is going to be extremely difficult to win back absent a shift in voting patterns. Florida Republicans have cleverly crafted all three south Florida districts to keep them in their column. Still, it has been won before, and it can be won again.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 28th district.
- Homestead to Goulds: This area remained blue even as the rest of the district shifted hard to the right. A larger percentage of black voters helps in this area, and Ascensio will need to run up the score in these suburbs if he is to even consider winning.
- South Miami Heights to the Hammocks: This area seems to be the swing area of the district, with light blue and light pink precincts present. Ascensio would have to win this part of the district decisively if he is to have a chance at competing.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Kendale Lakes and Tamiami: The northern part of the district is where the Cubans reside, and they reverted back to being staunch GQP voters in the last election. Ascensio doesn’t have to reach Clinton levels with these voters, but he cannot lose them 2:1 either. He just has to bring down the margins enough so that he is competitive overall.
Activism — Help How You Can!
It is difficult to say where Robert Ascensio is on the fundraising front. He filed so late that he could not raise any funds in the second quarter. While I am ecstatic that someone noteworthy decided to challenge the incumbent, it makes it tough to gauge how competitive his campaign actually is. Needless to say, he needs donations and he needed them yesterday!
The incumbent, Rep Carlos Giménez, did not fundraise like he had a competitive race in the second quarter — because basically no one filed against him until the last minute. He raised a paltry $216k, but then again he didn’t have to raise much. He is also sitting on a cash stack of $1.29 MILLION cash on hand, which is typical of most incumbent members of Congress
DONATE TO ROBERT ASCENSIO HERE
We are getting very close to the point where volunteers are more important than donations. Don’t get me wrong — last minute donations can still make a dent in a campaign. However, door knocking and voter persuasion matter more when the votes are cast, and it takes volunteers to do it. Ascensio doesn’t have a specific volunteer link, but contacting the campaign at Get Involved should do the trick.
Putting together a last minute campaign, including social media, can hurt in getting your message out. However, the particulars of this district mean that Spanish media is MUCH more important than traditional social media. Since I am unfamiliar with where to look, I really feel it is unfair to hold Ascensio to his low English social media numbers.
Here are his thoughts on the DeSatan human trafficking stunt from a week ago…
He also has a Facebook and an Instagram page in English. If you can add Spanish social media accounts to this article, please do so. I don’t see a translation on his campaign website into Spanish, which worries me immensely.
There’s a LOT of ifs in this paragraph. IF the Cubans, Venezuelans, and other Latinos in South Florida return to the Hillary Clinton level voting patterns, Robert Ascensio has a chance. IF he raises enough funds, he can contest the rampant misinformation on Spanish language media in the area. IF these voters care more about Dobbs instead of the ‘socialist’ boogeyman, he can win. There is a reason this is a Sleeper Race, and that is I don’t trust all three of the above to be true.
How to find all Majority Savers’ diaries:
To find all past and future diaries of the Majority Savers group, go to their Diaries List. (We suggest that you Bookmark that page.) The home page of the Majority Savers group is here.
Robert Ascensio for Florida-28!
Donate | Volunteer | Campaign | FaceBook | Twitter | Instagram