MIAMI — Republican Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo has defeated Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia.
The Associated Press declared Curbelo the winner Tuesday, as he held a 52 to 48 lead over Garcia with 94 percent of the precincts reported.
Garcia earned local bipartisan support and tackled national issues like immigration. But he faced allegations of corruption related to his ex-chief of staff’s conviction of filling out multiple absentee ballot requests. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether the staffer funded a shadow candidate during Garcia’s unsuccessful 2010 campaign.
Curbelo faced controversy, too, for not revealing the clients of his public relations firm, which is listed under his wife’s name.
Republicans poured more than $6 million into Curbelo’s race. His campaign raised about $2 million. Garcia’s campaign got about $2 million in outside money and raised nearly $3.5 million.
In May, during a House Judiciary Committee broadcast, Garcia picked at his ear, examined his finger, then put it in his mouth.