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David Rivera launches two TV ads: one positive, one negative

A week after an electrioneering group put up several spots attacking Republican congressional hopeful David Rivera, the state representative is up with two ads of his own -- one portraying himself as a champion of balanced budgets and the other bashing Democratic opponent Joe Garcia.

The message Rivera's camp is trying to get across: He's "one of us," while Garcia is "one of them."

Rivera's positive ad, titled "Pocketbook," features Rivera calling Washington spending "out of control" and touting his experience as House budget chief in Tallahassee balancing the state budget as mandated by law.

The negative ad, "One of Them," tries to tie Garcia to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who held a fundraiser for Garcia over the weekend, and to Rep. Charlie Rangel, the beleaguered New York Democrat who has raised thousands for Garcia's campaign in 2008.

The ad also says Garcia "raised utility rates on families," and that he "allowed tax dollars to be used to send our tax dollars overseas."

On the first claim, the ad is referring to an $88-million rate increase the Florida Public Service Commission approved in 1997 for Florida Power Corp., a St. Petersburg-based utility. Rivera's campaign says Garcia, then on the PSC, was one of several commissioners who "signed the recommendation that allowed the final order of the rate hike to take place." Garcia's campaign counters that Garcia was not on the panel that approved the rate increase. (UPDATE: See the PSC document provided by Rivera's campaign here and the one provided by Garcia's campaign here.)

We reached out to the PSC. A spokeswoman confirmed Garcia was not part of the three-member panel that passed the hike. The document Rivera's camp is referring to, spokeswoman Bev DeMello said, opened a separate PSC proceeding to further look into an outage at the nuclear power plant in question.

As for the second claim, Rivera's campaign cited several news stories about Chinese-built turbines going to a Texas wind farm funded partly by stimulus dollars. Garcia was director of the Department of Energy's Office of Minority Impact until earlier this year when he resigned to run for office.

Garcia's campaign said that, in that role, Garcia's jurisdiction was limited to American small businesses and did not have the power to outsource jobs. The campaign also cited the American Wind Energy Association saying "wind projects" funded through the stimulus are built in the United States.

Our colleagues at Politifact found earlier this year that although stimulus money is supporting jobs abroad because many parts of wind turbines are made overseas, wind energy-related jobs have also been created in the U.S. thanks to the money.

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