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Mario Díaz-Balart

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Mario Díaz-Balart
Mario Díaz-Balart official photo.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded byConstituency established
Constituency25th district (2003–2011)
21st district (2011–2013)
25th district (2013–present)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 112th district
In office
November 7, 2000 – November 5, 2002
Preceded byJ. Alex Villalobos
Succeeded byRedistricted
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 37th district
In office
November 3, 1992 – November 7, 2000
Preceded byRedistricted
Succeeded byJ. Alex Villalobos
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 115th district
In office
November 8, 1988 – November 3, 1992
Preceded byJavier Souto
Succeeded byRedistricted
Personal details
Mario Rafael Díaz-Balart Caballero

(1961-09-25) September 25, 1961 (age 59)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1985)
Republican (1985–present)
Spouse(s)Tia Diaz-Balart
ChildrenCristian Rafael
ParentsRafael Díaz-Balart
Alma materUniversity of South Florida (BA)
WebsiteHouse website

Mario Rafael Díaz-Balart Caballero (/bəˈlɑːrt/; born September 25, 1961) is a Republican U.S. Representative for Florida's 25th congressional district. He was elected in 2002, and his current district includes much of southwestern Miami-Dade County, including the city of Hialeah, and much of the northern portion of the Everglades.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Díaz-Balart became the first member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19 on March 18, 2020.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Díaz-Balart was born in 1961 in Fort Lauderdale, to Cuban parents, the late Cuban politician Rafael Díaz-Balart, and his wife, Hilda Caballero Brunet.

He is a member of the Díaz-Balart family: His aunt, Mirta Díaz-Balart, was the first wife of Fidel Castro. Her son, and his cousin, was Fidel Ángel "Fidelito" Castro Díaz-Balart. His uncle is the Cuban-Spanish painter, Waldo Díaz-Balart. His brother, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, represented Florida's 21st District from 1993 to 2011. He has two other brothers, José Díaz-Balart, a journalist, and Rafael Díaz-Balart, a banker.

He studied political science at the University of South Florida before beginning his public service career as an aide to then-Miami Mayor Xavier Suárez in 1985. In the same year, he changed his political party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.[1]

Florida legislature[edit]

Díaz-Balart and Marco Rubio in 2001
Díaz-Balart with President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush aboard Air Force One in 2004

He was elected to the Florida House in 1988 and moved to the Florida Senate in 1992. He returned to the Florida House in 2000.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Chief Judge Kevin Michael Moore, swearing in Members of Congress Carlos Curbelo, Frederica Wilson, Mario Díaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (February 2015)



Díaz-Balart gave up his seat in the state house to run in the newly created 25th District, which included most of western Miami-Dade County, part of Collier County and the mainland portion of Monroe County.[2] He easily won the seat with 64 percent of the vote. He was unopposed for reelection in 2004, and won a third term with 58 percent of the vote in 2006.


In 2008, Díaz-Balart faced his strongest challenge to date in Joe García, former Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party. Ultimately, Díaz-Balart defeated Garcia with 53 percent of the vote.

Díaz-Balart official portrait

On February 11, 2010, Díaz-Balart announced his intention to seek election in Florida's 21st congressional district—being vacated by his brother, Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart—rather than the 25th district.[3] Unlike the 25th, the 21st has long been considered the most Republican district in the Miami area. No other party even put up a candidate when filing closed on April 30, handing the seat to Díaz-Balart.[4]


Díaz-Balart was reelected unopposed in 2012 in the renumbered 25th district.


In 2014, Díaz-Balart ran unopposed.[5]


In 2016, Díaz-Balart beat Democrat Alina Valdes by a margin of 62.4% to 37.6%.[6] It was only the third time that a Democrat had even filed to run in this district, which had been numbered as the 21st from 1993 to 2013.


The Miami Herald reported in April 2018 that Díaz-Balart seemed a shoo-in for re-election in November. Former Hialeah mayor Raúl Martínez, a Democrat who had challenged Lincoln in what was then the 21st in 2008, said the 25th district "is very hard to win for a Democrat, especially if you're not Hispanic and you don't speak Spanish." Valdes, who had lost to him in 2016, was a candidate in the Democratic primary.[7] In April, Annisa Karim, who is active in the Democratic Party, announced that she, too, would run in the primary. In May, the Herald reported that Mary Barzee Flores, a former judge who had at first decided to run in the 27th district, had opted instead to run for Díaz-Balart's seat.[8]

In the November 2018 general election, Díaz-Balart defeated Barzee Flores, winning 60.5% of the vote to her 39.5%.[9]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus membership[edit]

Political positions[edit]

As of January 2018, Díaz-Balart had voted with his party in 92.4% of votes so far in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 93.1% of votes.[11][12]

He is a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus of Hispanic Republican congressmen.[13]

LGBT rights[edit]

In May 2019, Díaz-Balart voted to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system under the Equality Act.[14] He joined seven other Republicans and 228 Democrats in supporting the legislation, which passed the United States House of Representatives during the 116th Congress.[15]

Vote Smart issue positions[edit]

According to Vote Smart's 2016 analysis, Díaz-Balart generally supports pro-life legislation, opposes an income tax increase, opposes mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opposes federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth, supports lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth, opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards, supports building the Keystone Pipeline, supports government funding for the development of renewable energy, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, opposes requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts.[16]


Regarding climate change, in 2007 he said "I know there's a lot of money to be made on the bandwagon of global warming, you can make movies, documentaries, get a lot of research money — and that's okay, I love capitalism...My fear is using the bandwagon of global warming to have Congress act on some knee-jerk reaction which will please some editorialists, will hurt our economy, will not do anything to help us in the future."[17]

As of January 2018, Díaz-Balart was not a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.[18]

Health care[edit]

On May 4, 2017, Díaz-Balart voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act.[19][20]

Donald Trump[edit]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[21]

Díaz-Balart supported Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying "It is clear that Director Comey had lost the confidence of the Deputy Attorney General, Attorney General, and the President. Unfortunately, he became a controversial and divisive figure."[22]

In January 2018, after it was reported that Trump had voiced his opposition to immigration from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries - which he reportedly referred to as "shithole countries" - in a meeting on immigration reform, Díaz-Balart, who attended the meeting, did not say whether the alleged incident took place.[23][24][25]

In December 2020, Díaz-Balart was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[26] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[27][28][29]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded Díaz-Balart and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[30][31] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat Díaz-Balart and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit. Pascrell argued that "the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that."[32]

Economic issues[edit]

On September 29, 2008, Díaz-Balart voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which was intended to purchase distressed assets and supply cash directly to banks during the global financial crisis of 2008.[33]

Díaz-Balart voted to promote free trade with Peru, against assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization, for the Central America Free Trade Agreement, for the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, for the US-Singapore free trade agreement, and for free trade with Chile. He was rated 75% by the National Foreign Trade Council, indicating support for trade engagement.[34]

Tax reform[edit]

Díaz-Balart voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[35] The Center for American Progress, a center-left think-tank, estimated that 41,000 of his constituents would lose their health insurance as a result of the bill's passing.[36]

Foreign policy[edit]


In 2007, Díaz-Balart advocated maintaining the Cuban embargo, saying "Some people do not understand the embargo of Cuba. Its purpose is to keep American hard currency out of the hands of a Communist thug by restricting most trade and travel."[37]

In an April 2015 essay for Time magazine, Díaz-Balart wrote that President Obama "continues to appease brutal dictatorships while gaining precious little in return. He conflates the Cuban dictatorship with the Cuban people when in reality, their interests are diametrically opposed." Díaz-Balart noted that "all eight Cuban-American senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle, strongly disagree" with Obama's policy on Cuba, whose people "want to gather peacefully, speak their minds, practice their faiths, access the Internet, and enjoy the fruits of their labor."[38]

In September 2016, Díaz-Balart praised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "for firmly stating his commitment today to reverse President Obama's capitulations to the Castro regime" and contrasted Trump's position to what he called Hillary Clinton's "foolhardy stance." The U.S., he said, needs "a president who once again will stand with the Cuban people instead of emboldening and enriching their oppressors."[39]

In a March 2017 memo to the Trump White House, Díaz-Balart argued that if the Cuban government did not conform to the Helms-Burton law within 90 days, the U.S. should revert to its pre-Obama policy on Cuba.[40]


Díaz-Balart has strongly supported the right of self-determination on the Falkland Islands, over which there is a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom.[41] On April 18, 2013, Díaz-Balart introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives calling on the United States Government to officially recognize the result of the 2013 Falkland Islands sovereignty referendum in which the Falkland Islanders overwhelmingly voted to remain a British Overseas Territory.[42] Díaz-Balart introduced a similar resolution in 2017, recognizing the result of that year's general election in the Falklands.[43]

Immigration and refugees[edit]

In 2014, the Washington Post reported that Díaz-Balart was "eagerly seeking a deal" on undocumented immigrants "that can somehow please enough Republicans and Democrats to advance. And that upsets many Democrats and Republicans." After being "involved in bipartisan talks on the issue for years", he was "one of the guys most skilled on the issue" and hence "gets plenty of flack from both sides." Díaz-Balart told the Post that "President Obama said that this was going to be one of his first priorities in his first 12 months", but even when "Democrats controlled everything", nothing got done "because they didn't want to do it."[44]

Díaz-Balart supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "The ban is only temporary until the Administration can review and enact the necessary procedures to vet immigrants from these countries. The ban is based on countries the Obama administration identified as 'countries of concern' and not based on a religious test."[45]

He took part in a January 2018 White House meeting about DACA, and said that nothing would “divert my focus to stop the deportation of these innocent people whose futures are at stake.”[46]

Gun policy[edit]

In the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida, Díaz-Balart said gun control legislation would not be effective at stopping mass shootings, saying "I want to make sure we look at things that could make a difference."[47]

Drug policy[edit]

Díaz-Balart has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[48]


Díaz-Balart took part in a November 2013 meeting between American legislators and the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee about NSA spying on European officials. Díaz-Balart told his European counterparts that they should realize that the U.S. is their greatest ally. “Part of re-establishing trust,” he said, “is to know who your friends are and treat them accordingly, and to know who your enemies are and treat them accordingly.”[49]


A 2017 report stated that Díaz-Balart had delivered millions to his district for road and highway improvements.[50]

Personal life[edit]

He currently lives in Miami with his wife, Tia, and their son, Cristian Rafael.[51]

On March 18, 2020, Díaz-Balart announced he had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the current pandemic of the disease. He was the first member of the United States Congress to test positive for the disease.[52] Recovering from the effects of the disease though still drained from the experience, Diaz-Balart said he would offer his blood plasma, with antibodies against it, for experimental treatment or research purposes.[53]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Díaz-Balart Se Pasa Al Partido Republicano", El Nuevo Herald, April 24, 1985.(in Spanish)
  2. ^ Laura Figueroa. "Reform advocate says "dozens" of Florida political districts split counties and splinter cities". Retrieved Feb 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Mario Díaz-Balart Will Run to Succeed His Brother". Roll Call. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  4. ^ "Candidates and Races – Candidate Tracking system – Florida Division of Elections – Department of State". Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Florida's 25th Congressional District elections, 2014 - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  6. ^ "Florida's 25th Congressional District election, 2016 - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  7. ^ Daugherty, Alex; Democrats face long odds in effort to topple Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart; Miami Herald; April 11, 2018;
  8. ^ Daugherty, Alex; Democrat Mary Barzee Flores switches races to challenge Republican Mario Diaz-Balart; Miami Herald; May 3, 2018;
  9. ^ "Florida Election Results: 25th House District". New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  11. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Mario Diaz-Balart In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  12. ^ "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  13. ^ Henry Bonilla, et al., "We the (Hispanic) People...," Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2003)
  14. ^ Cioffi, Chris (May 17, 2019). "These 8 Republicans voted for the Equality Act". RollCall. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  15. ^ Johnson, Cheryl. "Roll Call Vote 217: On Final Passage, Equality Act". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Mario Diaz-Balart's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  17. ^ ThinkProgress (2013-06-26). "The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  18. ^ James Rosen (May 9, 2016). "S. Florida Republicans lead their party from climate change denial". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  19. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  20. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (2017-05-04). "Miami Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart Voted to Repeal Obamacare". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  21. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  22. ^ "Florida politicians react to firing of FBI director Comey". miamiherald. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  23. ^ Leary, Alex. "Mario Diaz-Balart sidesteps Trump's vulgarity". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  24. ^ "Rep. Diaz Balart Remains Mum On Trump's "S***hole" Remark". 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  25. ^ "Diaz-Balart: Immigration deal possible despite furor over Trump's reported vulgar comment". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  26. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  27. ^ Liptak, Adam (2020-12-11). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  28. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. 2020-12-11. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  29. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  30. ^ Smith, David (2020-12-12). "Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  31. ^ "Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit" (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  32. ^ Williams, Jordan (2020-12-11). "Democrat asks Pelosi to refuse to seat lawmakers supporting Trump's election challenges". TheHill. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  33. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 681". US House of Representatives.
  34. ^ "Mario Diaz-Balart on Free Trade". Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  35. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (22 December 2017). "Miami Rep. Curbelo's Wife Owns Assets That Benefit From GOP Tax Bill's Last-Minute Provision". Miami New Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  36. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (20 December 2017). "GOP Tax Bill Could Make 873,000 Floridians Drop or Lose Health Insurance". Miami New Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  37. ^ [1] Archived April 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart: Obama's Cuba Policy Is Enabling a Dictator; TIME; April 21, 2015;
  39. ^ O'Reilly, Andrew; FL Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart commends Trump for hard-line stance on Cuba; Fox News; September 19, 2016;
  40. ^ Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart’s memo to the White House RE: Cuba policy changes; Global Americans; March 23, 2017;
  41. ^ "Strong Support for the Falklands Right to Self Determination on North American Tour". MercoPress. 2016-05-05. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  42. ^ Mario, Diaz-Balart (2013-06-07). "H.Res.170 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): Recognizing the Falkland Islands referendum in favor of retaining their status as a British Overseas Territory". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  43. ^ Mario, Diaz-Balart (2017-12-07). "H.Res.650 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Recognizing the results of the free and fair elections for the new Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands held on November 9, 2017". Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  44. ^ O'Keefe, Ed; "Mario Diaz-Balart on immigration: ‘We need to get the support of enough people or we’re dead’"; Washington Post; February 6, 2014
  45. ^ Blake, Aaron (2017-01-29). "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  46. ^ Batten, Brent; "Brent Batten: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart masters the art of not stepping in it"; Naples Daily News, January 16, 2018
  47. ^ Daugherty, Alex. "NRA-backed Marco Rubio says gun control laws alone won't prevent mass shootings". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  48. ^ "Florida Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  49. ^ Keating, Dave; US lawmakers promise to rein in NSA snooping; Politico; November 27, 2013;
  50. ^ Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart delivers millions to roads, highways; Local10; July 30, 2017;
  51. ^ "Biography". 11 December 2012.
  52. ^ Bernal, Rafael. "Florida congressman tests positive for COVID-19". The Hill.
  53. ^ South Florida congressman, now officially coronavirus-free, applies to donate plasma, Sun Sentinel, Anthony Mann, April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Javier Souto
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 115th district

Succeeded by
Carlos A. Manrique
Preceded by
J. Alex Villalobos
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 112th district

Succeeded by
David Rivera
Florida Senate
Preceded by
Gwen Margolis
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 37th district

Succeeded by
J. Alex Villalobos
U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
David Rivera
Preceded by
Lincoln Díaz-Balart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Ted Deutch
Preceded by
Luis Fortuño
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference
Preceded by
David Rivera
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cole
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Raúl Grijalva