Scandal-plagued former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., is looking to make a political comebackdespite facing continued investigations.
Rivera announced on Thursday that he plans to run for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.
Today I announced my candidacy for the United States Congress in Florida's 26th Congressional District, Rivera informed supporters on Thursday night. I'm running to ensure that our community has an effective representative in Congress who can work to deliver results and create jobs in South Florida.
Rivera went after Garcia who he defeated in 2010 for an open congressional seat by 9.5 percent. Garcia turned the tables on Rivera in 2012, beating him by more than 10.5 percent.
The current congressman is a Democrat who represents the failed economic policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, Rivera insisted. It's time for a change.
First elected to the Florida House in 2002, Rivera moved up the political and legislative ladders, playing a leading role in crafting the budget. Rivera also served as executive director of the Miami-Dade County GOP. But Rivera faced questions on a range of matters, including backing a primary candidate against Garcia in 2010 and campaign financial transactions. Ana Alliegro, a friend and former romantic interest of Riveras, was arrested in Nicaragua back in March and now faces charges of lying to federal officials and for making illegal campaign contributions. Alliegro has pled not guilty, even as the investigations of Rivera continue.
The former congressman appeared in Tallahassee on Friday, the last day to qualify, to file his paperwork and pay the fee to qualify to make the primary ballot. He refused to speak to the media.
Riveras re-emergence did not sit well with the leading Republican already looking to defeat Garcia. Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who had been the GOP front-runner, sounded the alarm on Thursday night about Rivera.
David Rivera is going to run for Congress again, despite being under investigation by federal agencies for serious allegations that, like Joe Garcia, he participated in a fraudulent scheme to influence an election, Curbelo emailed supporters on Thursday night. I believe that our district deserves better. We deserve someone who is looking out for us, not themselves. As I talk to the people of this district, it is clear that they are ready for a change. We deserve better, and that is why I am running for Congress.
Other Republican candidates include Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, former Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.