David Rivera Could Be Saved by Opposing Common Core
Around the State
David Rivera hasn’t impressed in his political comeback so far but he is now playing a political card that could get him back in the game by opposing Common Core.
Rivera shocked the political world at the start of May when he filed to run against Joe Garcia despite facing an ongoing FBI corruption probe. The Republican establishment, hoping to knock off Garcia who has faced scandals of his own, quickly rallied behind Carlos Curbelo as South Florida congresspersons who served with Rivera -- like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart -- fell in line against their former colleague.
Things haven’t exactly gone Rivera’s way. He has next to nothing for an online campaign presence. There were even rumors that Rivera would drop out of the congressional race and look to get back to Tallahassee by running for the Florida House. Despite the buzz, Rivera stayed in against Garcia.
But Rivera has found a campaign issue as he tries to catch up with Curbelo. Polls show Republicans overwhelmingly oppose Common Core. Rivera is starting to play up his opposition to Common Core while Curbelo backs it.
It won’t take much to hang Common Core around Curbelo’s neck. It’s a fair strategy, especially since Curbelo serves on the Miami Dade School Board. Curbelo supported Common Core and even wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald last year praising it. Jeb Bush, easily the most prominent Republican backer of Common Core, is standing behind Curbelo.
So far, the Republican primary contest hasn’t been particularly nasty, but things are bound to heat up in the next two months as Curbelo, Rivera, Joe Martinez, Ed MacDougall and Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck battle for position.
Rivera’s been on Miami’s political scene for some time, serving in the Florida House and in Congress. He also was the GOP’s executive director in Miami-Dade County. Rivera knows the Republican voters in the district and how to appeal to them. If he can get Republicans more concerned about Curbelo’s support of Common Core instead of the FBI investigation and other scandals, the former congressman can get back in this race.
Much to the dismay of Republicans who are hoping to claim Garcia’s scalp come November, Rivera has the opportunity to be a major factor in this primary despite his past and rumors that he would run for a state House seat. Look for Rivera to try to showcase his opposition to Common Core and Curbelo’s support of it in the weeks to come as he looks to make his move. Opposing Common Core could well offer the last chance for Rivera to salvage his political career.
Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.