Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida lost re-election Tuesday to his Democrat challenger, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
Why it matters: Curbelo, a two-term Republican, was a top target for the Democrats from the get-go and considered a bellwether of a blue wave. The outcome also represents a loss for the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan House caucus Curbelo founded in 2016.
The big picture: The 38-year-old Curbelo, first elected to Congress in 2014, embodies the moderate GOP mold considered key to Republicans keeping control of the House. He represents the tip of Florida, a swing district whose residents regularly experience rising sea levels, one of the clearest and most present impacts of climate change.
- Climate change is a top priority for Curbelo, who has regularly criticized President Trump on several issues.
- Curbelo introduced legislation in July that taxes carbon emissions, the first substantive climate legislation by a Republican in a decade.
In an interview this summer, Curbelo brushed off prospects of losing.
“I don’t worry about those kinds of things. I didn’t go to college to serve in Congress. I’m going to be as effective as possible while I’m here. The day I’m not here, I’ll be perfectly fine.”— GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida
What’s next: The prospect of bipartisan climate policy, something many independent experts say is necessary to make substantive progress on the issue, drops significantly with Curbelo exiting Congress.