Florida 17th District
North from downtown Miami, alongside Interstate 95, Miami’s main north-south artery, is the city’s largest African-American community. It stretches from the Miami Arena downtown through Allapattah and Liberty City to the brightly painted minarets and Moorish arches of the city of Opa-Locka. This has been a kind of frontierland in Miami, where hostilities between Miami’s blacks and its Cuban-American majority have played out. Many of Miami’s African-Americans have resented the economic upward mobility and political strength of the Cubans. There is also tension between the Cubans and the Haitians in Little Haiti as a result of federal policies that give Cubans who reach U.S. shores refugee status while Haitians are treated as any other immigrant group with the potential for deportation if they’re not here legally. This animosity is reflected in partisan politics. Cuban Americans have been solidly Republican over the years, though somewhat less so recently. South Florida blacks have remained largely Democratic, as has the growing Haitian-American community.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 17th Congressional District of Florida covers much of northeast Miami-Dade County, including Liberty City and Overtown, Opa-Locka, and Miami Gardens (known as Carol City until it was incorporated in 2003), right up to Biscayne Boulevard. It does not include the affluent enclaves facing Biscayne Bay or the beach towns north of Miami Beach, nor does it include heavily Latino Hialeah to the west. This is the historic heart of Miami’s black community. Some 56% of the district’s residents are black, the highest percentage of any Florida district; 25% are Hispanic. The district also includes part of Hollywood and other communities in southern Broward County, which are also strongly Democratic.