Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Florida Dems eye Rivera's seat

From Alexander Burns of Politico on Jan. 26:
Florida Democrats are already speaking with candidates who could run to replace freshman GOP Rep. David Rivera, in case the Miami-area lawmaker’s ethics problems balloon into a career-ending scandal.

A Florida Democratic Party official didn’t share names of the possible recruits, but said Democrats were bracing for the possibility that Rivera might not serve out his first term in the House of Representatives.

“Just like leaders in the Republican Party are reportedly making ‘contingency plans’ as Congressman Rivera’s many legal problems grow, Florida Democrats have begun reaching out to potential candidates should Rivera be indicted or resign in disgrace,” said party spokesman Eric Jotkoff, alluding to a POLITICO report that Republicans are preparing for trouble with Rivera.

Rivera is under investigation for a series of financial irregularities, both personal and campaign-related, by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Election Commission.

The former state lawmaker received $130,000 in loans – disclosed only after the November elections – from a company managed by his mother and godmother. That company, in turn, received more than $500,000 from a betting concern, Flagler Dog Track, that successfully pushed a referendum allowing slot machines in Miami-Dade County. Rivera backed the Flagler position on slot machines.

The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that a veteran Rivera aide, Alina Garcia, had been subpoenaed in a criminal probe examining Rivera. Garcia denied that report on the record to the Herald.

Rivera hasn’t given the slightest indication that he might abandon his office. But POLITICO reported on Tuesday that Republican “insiders already are drawing contingency plans for a replacement should the freshman lawmaker resign or be forced to step aside.”


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