Two fiscal conservatives with prior congressional campaigns are competing in a Republican primary to run against U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz in November, a daunting task in a mostly Democratic district.
Joseph Kaufman, backed by conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Mark Levin, calls for more oil drilling off the shores of Florida to try to boost the economy and create jobs.
Juan Garcia, backed by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, wants to cut corporate taxes to attract businesses to Florida while slicing entitlement programs.
Republicans are stressing economic issues to try to unseat Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who is campaigning in her district but also nationwide to try to help Democrats regain majority control of the House.
Wasserman Schultz, of Weston, takes pride in being an active lawmaker, raising three children and leading the DNC. But her national profile prompts criticism from Republicans.
"We need a representative who will work for the district on a full-time basis," Garcia said. "Our current representative is busy working on the agenda of the Democratic Party and spending more time in other states than in the district that elected her."
Though Florida taxes are low compared to other states, Garcia said they should be further reduced to give new businesses a break for the first 5 or 10 years. He said spending on entitlement programs should be cut while rooting out fraud, but did not spell out specific reductions.
"We have created a generation living off the government without actually needing it," Garcia said.
Kaufman focuses instead on offshore drilling — "at distances and in areas that will not impede tourism and fishing" — to generate jobs and revenue. He also said the government should open more lands to drilling, including "fracking," a process that blasts open rock to extract oil deposits.
He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act while allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and establish risk pools to serve patients with pre-existing health conditions.
Kaufman said he only supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman. And on foreign policy, he said the United States should get involved in conflicts only where "there is a definitive threat to America or American interests abroad."
Family: Married, two children
Residence: Cooper City
Education: Bachelor's degree, Ana G. Mendez University, 2012
Occupation: Radio host and business consultant
Political career: Unsuccessful primary run for Congress in 2012
Campaign coffers: $98,856 raised through second quarter