Democrats breaking GOP's long lock on Cuban vote

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Associated Press

Posted on January 4, 2014 at 6:04 AM

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.

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