Longform

Congressman Joe Garcia Fights for His Political Life

On a Wednesday evening in early October, Congressman Joe Garcia strides through the empty lobby of a Key Largo community center, his black dress shoes clacking against the marble floor.

Garcia is both affable and imposing. He has a large body and a broad face, with small dark eyes set above a prominent nose. His gray curls, once an unruly mop, are styled neat and short.

For months he's been under siege over scandals related to his former campaign manager, Jeffrey Garcia (no relation), and an apparently phony candidate named Roly Arrojo. But on his way out of the building after a debate, he's in good spirits, relieved after a long day of campaigning. In the lobby he walks past an abandoned tray of roast beef sandwiches. His young spokesman, Texas native Miguel Salazar, trails behind him. Without speaking, the two men slip through the building's glass doors and into a warm South Florida night.

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Trevor Bach