Cuban American David Rivera fails to run for Florida legislature after political scandals

For a moment, the return of the former Republican representative, who appeared in the District 119 open house contest on the final day of qualification for state legislative offices, seemed possible in a new attempt to restart his political career.

El excongresista cubanoamericano de Miami, David Rivera © Twitter / David Rivera
Former Cuban-American congressman from Miami, David Rivera Photo © Twitter / David Rivera

This article is from 1 year ago

The former Cuban-American congressman from Miami,David Rivera, implicated in several scandals in recent years, failed in his attempt to return to politics after running for the Florida state Congress for District 119 and failing to qualify, according to Department of Elections regulations.

At first, the return of the former Republican representative seemed possible, who appeared in the open-door contest of District 119 on the last day of qualification for state legislative positions, in a new attempt to restart his controversial political career.

The protagonist of multiple scandals, Rivera tried to qualify as the Republican candidate for Florida's 119th district, which in its new distribution adds parts of unincorporated western Miami-Dade County, including West Kendall, Country Walk and The Crossings.

The former Republican representativewas fined $456,000 in February 2021, for allegedly having committed an electoral campaign financing violation in 2012.

Additionally, he is accused of secretly funneling a sum of $75,927 in campaign funds to a rookie political candidate running against the Cuban-American's likely Democratic challenger in Florida's 26th District, in an illegal attempt to weaken his potential rival.

Rivera, who represented Florida's 25th Congressional District (January 2011 to January 2013), was elected in 2020 to the executive committee of the Miami Republican Party. Since losing in 2012, Rivera has run unsuccessfully for Congress.

In 2016 he attempted to return to the state House when he ran against Robert Asencio for District 118. Asencio won that race by just 54 votes. In 2018, Rivera ran again to compete in the House District 105 contest and contributed $360,000 to his campaign. But it didn't even appear on the ballot.

Despite his strong anti-Castro and anti-Chavista stance, in 2020 he was accused in a federal court in New York ofreceive millionaire payments for services to the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.

The lawsuit was related to the Venezuelan state oil company (PDVSA), who turned to Rivera as a well-connected figure in Florida to obtain $50 million in “strategic consulting services” from him.

Shortly after, the founder and national coordinator of the political party Voluntad Popular in Venezuela,Leopoldo López stated that he would sue Rivera for defamation after allegedly making false statements with the intention of damaging the reputation of the Venezuelan opponent.

The Cuban-American, who operates the Interamerica Consulting firm, had pointed out López for allegedly participating in a plan to benefit the Maduro regime.

Members of the Florida House of Representatives serve two-year terms with term limits (they cannot serve more than four consecutive terms). Florida legislators take office on the day they are elected in the general election. The primary elections in Florida will occur on August 23, 2022; the general elections, on November 8, 2022.

Republicans likely to have an advantage in the general election, according toFlorida Politics. While Democrat Andrew Gillum performed more than 6 points better than Republican Ron DeSantis in the region in 2018, the lead completely reversed in 2020, with Republican Donald Trump taking 54% of the vote in the area, compared with 45% of Democrat Joe Biden.

This Friday, taking advantage of the former congressman's attempted return, the Florida Democratic Party asked Republican federal senator Marco Rubio if he would send an endorsement to Rivera.

“David Rivera used his friendship with Marco Rubio to extract millions of dollars from Nicolás Maduro's narco regime. Now that Rivera is running for office again, Rubio cannot afford to remain silent. Floridians deserve to know if Marco Rubio will return to helping his former political ally or if he will find the courage to stand up to one of the Maduro regime's corrupt lobbyists,” said Grant Fox, spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party.

Among the Republicans already qualified for District 119 are the vice president of the Miami-Dade Area 11 Community Council, Ashley Álvarez, lawyer Rob González, former legislative assistant Juan Carlos Porras and hotelier Ricky Tsay. Gabriel González also qualified to run as a Democrat. He ran at the end of March and was the only candidate to do so.

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