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Florida: David Rivera to Face Joe Garcia — Again

Rep. David Rivera has a new Democratic opponent. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. David Rivera has a new Democratic opponent. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s rematch time in South Florida.

Former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia won Florida’s 26th district Democratic primary tonight and will challenge Rep. David Rivera (R) in November. Rivera, the embattled freshman lawmaker, beat Garcia by more than 9 points in 2010.

This evening, Garcia beat Gloria Romero Roses, a political newcomer, by a comfortable margin. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Garcia had 53 percent to Romero Roses’ 31 percent.

“I am humbled and energized by tonight’s results,” Garcia said in a statement. “Voters will see a very clear contrast for the direction of our country, but also with a very different set of values and motives for seeking public office. Our community deserves a congressman who, even when you disagree with them, you can at least trust them to be honest and truthful.”

Rivera was the target of an extensive investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But it announced earlier this year that the Congressman would not be charged criminally by state prosecutors.

Rivera is also reportedly under federal investigation. The Congressman denies any wrongdoing.

Garcia, who also lost a race for Congress to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) by just more than 6 points in 2008, is not seen as a particularly strong candidate by the Florida Democratic Party, and the party appears unlikely to lend a hand in his effort to unseat Rivera.

The state party sent out five press releases tonight on federal races, including one knocking the GOP candidate in the comfortably Republican 6th Congressional district. There was no release on Garcia’s victory.