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UPDATE: Miami lawmaker launches bid against Rivera

UPDATE: Read updated version of this story here, with statement from Rivera.

State Rep. Luis Garcia announced Wednesday that he intends to run for Congress against embattled U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

Launching his campaign from Tamiami Park in West Miami-Dade, Garcia, a former Miami Beach fire chief and city commissioner, said he is not running against anyone but for the people of Florida's 25th Congressional District.

"The people want a change, and I want to be a part of that change," he said from a podium under an arch of red, white and blue balloons to several dozen supporters gathered in a multipurpose room at the park.

Garcia, a Democrat, is the first candidate to challenge Rivera, a Republican whose personal and campaign finances have been under investigation since before he was elected last year to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

Rivera posted anemic quarterly fundraising numbers last week, a sign that the wide-ranging investigation is taking its toll on the once-prolific fundraiser.

The 25th district, which spans from western Miami-Dade County to eastern Collier County, leans Republican –- though the mammoth district is likely to be redrawn in next year's decennial redistricting.

Garcia, who represents a coastal swath from Miami Beach to Pinecrest in the Florida House, does not live in the congressional district. Federal law does not require candidates or office holders to live in the districts they represent.

Still, Garcia is battle-tested as one of only a couple of Democrats to survive a contested state legislative race in 2010. The Cuban-born Garcia, 65, is known as el bombero, the firefighter. The red-and-yellow campaign logo he used Wednesday features a red firefighters’ hat over the "G" in Garcia's name.

In a 20-minute speech, Garcia emphasized his ties to West Miami-Dade, where he grew up after arriving to Miami from Cuba more than half a century ago.

"This district was my home for 31 years," he said. "I have seen this district totally disenfranchised for the last 10 years...This was a successful, middle-class district."

Comments

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NewFLSenator

Does Marco Rubio have a girlfriend? Sure does look like it.
Remember Esther Nuhfer? Well here she is in Puerto Rico with our favorite Republican, Marco Rubio.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63622372@N05/5794392008/in/set-72157626753071139/

inquiring minds

Where's David Rivera? I don't see him.

George Fuller

Rivera, the cocky SOB in 2008 who lectured a group of people gathered at Tally during a workshop regarding illegal immigration.

He lectured us and alluded anyone who opposed illegal immigration was anti-Hispanic.......

He was a hack then and now......hopefully he will be out of politics.....soon

Martin Roha

RUBIO blocked all legislation against illegal immigrants in the house and preferred to call them "undocumented" instead of illegal. Now he conveniently wants e-verify. Typical.

westchester

It looks like marco is praying at krome detention with a bunch of illegals. He looks so into it. this one the best http://www.flickr.com/photos/63622372@N05/5793788287/in/set-72157626753071139/

Anon

Hi is this this the Miami Democatic Party chat room? I'd like to level BS accusations at Republicans, is this where I fling the garbage? Why don't you morons focus on Garcia and this race instead of Rubio.

Marco Rubio is a Coward

Marco Rubio is a coward for not wanting to be seen in public with David Rivera. Rivera has taken all of the heat for Rubio while Rubio basks in the limelight. You should be ashamed of yourself Marco Rubio for throwing David Rivera under the bus!

MDRP

David Rivera is on Eric Cantor's NRCC fundraising list.

Is the Miami Herald going to make that correction or does the Naples Daily News have to do it for you?

Heaven

Ho ho, who wuldoa thunk it, right?

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