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Florida Democratic Senate candidate: Jan. 6 like Latin American authoritarianism

Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who is seeking to oust Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R), likens the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot to attacks on democracy in Latin American countries. Ta.

Born in Ecuador, Mucarcel-Powell is the first South American-born member of parliament and fled his home country with his family in 1985 as a teenager.

“As a South American immigrant whose family is still in Latin America, I have seen firsthand the effects of dictatorships. The fight to protect democracy at home and abroad is personal to me,” she told The Hill. Ta.

“Like many immigrants in Florida, I came to the United States seeking the security and stability of American democracy,” the former congressman added. “We have seen democracies attacked abroad, we have seen spineless leaders remain silent in the face of authoritarians, and here they are. I didn’t expect that to happen.”

Mucarsel-Powell has had the highest fundraising total of any Democrat so far in a crowded primary race.

Scott is also facing an opponent in the primary, but is widely expected to retain the Republican nomination and is considered the favorite to win the general election. But he is seen as the closest thing to a vulnerable Republican Senate incumbent.

Scott's campaign declined to comment.

Mucarsel-Powell served one term representing Florida's southernmost district, which is notorious for party swings, but was defeated by Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez in 2020, when Republicans made significant gains in South Florida. Ta.

That election cycle ended on January 6, 2021, with President Biden's certification of victory following the storming of the Capitol.

Since then, political divisions have widened, Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives, former President Trump took a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Republican presidential race, and campaign rhetoric has heightened, particularly against immigrants.

President Trump included in his speech a reference to immigrants “tainting the blood of this country,” drawing criticism from the left and comparisons to former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

While these comparisons have primarily drawn attention from Trump supporters who see the left as grasping at straws to demonize the former president, some, like Jimenez, gently pushed back With rhetoric.

“Rick Scott has remained silent while Donald Trump has echoed Hitler's rhetoric,” Mucarsel Powell said. “He defended Trump's involvement in the January 6th riot.”

The former representative, who made significant early investments in reaching out to various Hispanic groups in Florida, compared his actions to regimes in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.

“By choosing to put party over country and standing with Donald Trump, Rick Scott stands shoulder to shoulder with dictators who destroy freedom and democracy, as we have seen in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela. We’re going to line them up,” she said. “Rick Scott is a threat to our democracy, and we must stand firm against him and these attacks.”

Republicans have been successful in portraying South Florida Democrats as sympathetic to leftist authoritarian regimes, but Mucarsel-Powell uses her experience with Latin American authoritarianism as a shield against such accusations. .

“My story is like the story of many Latinos who came here to work hard and seek opportunity. In fact, they seek security. Many Latinos “I was fleeing political violence,” she told The Hill. “Then they come here and find themselves living in a country where violence continues to be prevalent.”

Mucarsel-Powell, whose first language is Spanish, has made daily appearances on Spanish-language news radio, putting her in the center of South Florida politics.

There she leveled attacks commonly made against Scott (including by her main opponents), but to an audience typically insulated from direct contact with candidates across the state. It's reaching.

The leading Senate candidate believes her early work as a bilingual Hispanic could be key to unlocking Florida for Democrats after two disastrous campaign cycles.

Throughout his political career, Scott has faced attacks on the roots of his fortune, including settlements after a complex fraud case involving his company, Columbia HCA, once the nation's largest health care company. has been heavily criticized.

Mucarsel Powell called the chapter “the biggest Medicare fraud in the history of this country.”

Scott has also come under fire for opposing public health insurance programs such as Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and has clashed publicly with Republican leadership, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. (R-Kentucky).

But Mr. Scott has also proven resilient with his political inner circle.

Mucarsel-Powell hopes to crack the code by delivering a bilingual account of the attack on Scott, her personal story, and her anti-extremism pitch.

“I have done everything in my power to work with the Republican Party to serve the people of Florida. I did so because it related to Everglades restoration funding,” she said. “I worked a lot with [Rep.] brian mast [R-Fla]We're trying to protect clean water here in the state of Florida. [former Rep.] francis rooney [R-Fla.]”

“And always, always, [I] We are willing to work with anyone who wants to work to lower the cost of living and help families thrive here in Florida,” Mucarsel-Powell added. “We can’t continue to have people leaving the state out of fear and because they can’t afford to live here.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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