The Florida Democratic Party issued a statement Wednesday calling for U.S. Rep. David Rivera to explain any involvement he may have had in the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, who ran in the Democratic primary against eventual nominee Joe Garcia.
Sternad told the FBI that Rivera was secretly behind his run, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad also said his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, served as a conduit to Rivera. Alliegro, according to what Sternad told the feds, called Rivera "D.R." or "The Gangster."
"It is past time for Representative David Rivera to come clean about his involvement in this notorious and likely illegal shadow campaign," the party's executive director, Scott Arceneaux, said in a statement. "Each day seems to bring more news about Rivera and his cronies' scandalous activities, leaving little doubt that the congressman is more concerned with saving his own political life than looking out for his constituents' interests in Washington."
Meantime, the House Majority PAC, a Washington D.C.-based Democratic superPAC, has canceled its planned TV ad buy to back Garcia in the race. The group had planned to spend some $500,000 advertising in the Kendall-to-Key West district.
"We are really confident about Joe Garcia," said Andy Stone, the PAC's communications director. "The fact is that every day there is new information about one of the investigations into David 'The Gangster' Rivera, which House Majority PAC polling just showed is a serious, serious liability for him."
A PAC-commissioned poll released last week showed Garcia leading Rivera by 9 points. Earlier last week, The Hill reported that an internal Rivera poll showed different results, with Rivera leading Garcia by 6 points.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has set aside $1.4 million for advertising in the race, but not until closer to Election Day. Garcia's campaign went up on TV this week.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to budget party money for the race, which several political analysts have recently shifted from "Lean Republican" to "Tossup."