MIAMI (AP) — Miami has long been the capital of Cuban exiles. And running for Congress there has required two things: being Republican and taking a hard line on Cuba.
Joe Garcia became the first Cuban-American Democrat elected to the House from Florida in 2012. His election signaled a crack in a critical GOP constituency. Garcia represents a new breed of Cuban-American, more interested in pragmatism and reconciliation than regime change and isolation.
It's a generational shift that could help change U.S. policy toward Cuba and reshape politics in the swing state of Florida.
The implications are troubling for the GOP, which has long had a lock on the Cuban-American vote. The community makes up a third of the state's fast-growing Hispanic population.