Election forecasters see Republicans gaining ground in CD 26, while Democrats find good news in CD 18

murcarsel powell
Both races could be nailbiters come November, according to the latest projections.

The Cook Political Report now says the race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District is a toss up as Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell attempts to defend her seat.

The outlet shifted the race from “leaning Democratic” to a “toss up.” The move comes after a GOP-backed survey showed Republican candidate Carlos Giménez leading Mucarsel-Powell 47%-42% in a hypothetical general election matchup.

Giménez must still get through the Republican primary for the right to take on Mucarsel-Powell. He’s competing against Omar Blanco, the former head of Miami-Dade Firefighters Local 1403.

The general election contest has long been expected to be close. Mucarsel-Powell said her reelection race will be “one of the toughest” in the nation. She won the seat in 2018 by just 2 percentage points.

The DCCC has also added Mucarsel-Powell to its Frontline Program, which funnels resources to potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the House.

Democrats did receive some good news in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. Republican Rep. Brian Mast currently holds that seat. An analysis by Rachel Bitecofer of the Niskanen Center has shifted the race to a toss up after previously favoring the Republican’s reelection. Bitecofer posted one of the most accurate House projections of the 2018 cycle.

If Mast is in trouble, he’ll have plenty of cash to attempt to spend his way out of it. Mast is facing a primary challenge from retired police sergeant Nick Vessio. Former Navy JAG Officer Pam Keith is battling attorney Oz Vazquez for the Democratic nomination.

The incumbent has easily led the field in fundraising and is sitting on nearly $1.78 million as of the latest financial reports, covering activity through June 30. Vessio has just over $16,000 available.

On the Democratic side, Keith leads Vazquez in cash on hand $136,000 to $90,000. Neither are close to Mast’s total. He held onto the seat in 2018 by a comfortable 8 percentage points.

Non-party affiliated candidate K.W. Miller — one of the more eccentric candidates competing for Congress this cycle — has also qualified in the CD 18 contest.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Sonja Fitch

    August 1, 2020 at 7:00 am

    The goptrump cult is a death cult! Brian Mast won because of Russian Operative working with his campaign! Google it! Vote Blue!
    VoteBlue for Debbie for you and me! Look at goptrump cult legislators and the agenda is against the common good! Vote Blue!

    • Derek Hankerson

      August 2, 2020 at 6:45 pm

      Seriously oh please. He won because he said what he was going to do and did it in his first and second term.

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