If what Joe Garcia envisions plays out, he’ll get a rematch against U.S. Rep. David Rivera for Florida’s 25th Congressional District seat this fall.
The Democrat, who said this week that he would run again for Congress, is seeking to focus attention on the investigations into the finances of Rivera, a first-term Republican.
A memo released recently by Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said that Rivera would not be charged with a state crime after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and her office that lasted more than a year.
Though their case was closed, prosecutors noted that Rivera essentially lived off campaign contributions for years. Rivera’s campaign said he was exonerated.
Asked Tuesday why he is running, Garcia responded, “Look, the easy thing is to walk away. The easy thing is to sit in your house and say, ‘Well, you know, all politicians are corrupt.’ That’s not the case here. The case is we have a choice.”
He then mentioned then the reports by the State Attorney’s Office and the FDLE on their investigation.
“I’m standing up to be counted. This is about our community, and what we want to be representing,” Garcia said. “When David Rivera stands up in the United States Congress, it isn’t only he that he represents. He represents you, me, my daughter, my family, our community. And I think we deserve better.”
Rivera did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.
He told Telemundo 51 recently that he has “always respected all state and federal laws in both my personal finances and in my political campaigns.”
“I sincerely thank all the support of everyone who has always kept their faith and trust in my personal and professional integrity and honesty. I will continue to work hard in favor of the best interest of our community,” he said two weeks ago, on the night before Fernandez Rundle’s closeout memo came out.
The Miami-based congressman is still under investigation by the FBI and IRS. Rivera beat Garcia by 10 points in 2010.
Garcia lost to former Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart two years before that by 6 points.
Garcia, the former head of the Cuban American National Foundation, made his comments Tuesday at a community rally to protest planned layoffs at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Gloria Romero Roses, a Southwest Ranches businesswoman, is also running in the Democratic primary in August, and more candidates say they plan to get in for the primaries and general election in November, according to The Miami Herald.