Garcia is a 62-year-old retired firefighter who, as a state legislator, succeeded in obtaining compensation for Alan Crotzer, a man who spent 24 years in prison for two rapes he didn't commit. Garcia also sponsored a measure that prohibits suspending or deferring prison sentences of criminals convicted of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, state attorney, or judge.
The 47-year-old Republican has reason to feel good. His party has donated more than $56,000 to his $300,000 campaign war chest, while Garcia has raised less than $150,000. What's more, a Democrat hasn't won re-election in the district since 1990. And though Democrats hold the advantage over Republicans in number of registered voters, it's only by 1,000 people.
The GOP has been gunning for Garcia for more than a year. "They looked long and hard for an opponent," he gripes. "Jorge is like the seventh person they asked to run against me."
Responds Lopez: "The party did not seek me out. I decided to run because Garcia has done a terrible job representing the district."