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Garcia Defeats David Rivera In District 26

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For Joe Garcia, the third time really was a charm.

After two failed campaigns for Congress, the Democrat was elected Tuesday to represent South Florida's District 26 in Washington.

After thanking his family and supporters at the Casa Vieja Restaurant in Kendall, Garcia launched in to a victory speech he's been waiting four years to give.

"Today our community has spoken," Garcia said. He was answered with a roar of cheers. He said the district has turned the page in a new, positive direction.

With his parents and daughter Gabriella by his side, the Democrat vowed to live up to the expectations of his new constituents.

"You deserve a Congressman who wakes up every morning thinking of how he's going to serve South Florida families," Garcia said.

District 26 was created after the 2010 census.

It covers all of Monroe county and parts of Miami-Dade, from Key West to Kendall.

The district he ran in in 2008 and 2010 included Collier County, a stronghold for Republicans.

But the new district lines gave the Democrat an edge this time around.

"Whether you're Cuban, Colombian, American, African American, what you want is jobs and for your kids to have a better life," Garcia said. "That message tonight, I think, struck a chord."

His campaign focused on the economy, and he pushed his 26-point economic plan across the district.

His supporters and friends say he has the right vision for South Florida.

"He's an intellect and a decent human being," Augusto Lopez said. "And I look forward to being on Joe's team going forward."

Garcia made quick reference to his Republican challenger David Rivera, but did not directly mention the federal investigations and ethics charges that clouded Rivera's campaign.

"You ran a hard campaign," Garcia told Rivera. "I wish you and your family well."

Garcia said he plans to work closely with other South Florida members of the Congressional delegation when he takes office.

For now, he said he wants to get some much-needed sleep.

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