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5 posts from August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014

Ex-Rep. David Rivera: A parent's nightmare


David Rivera isn’t just a scandal-plagued ex-lawmaker and current congressional candidate.

Rivera is also a parent’s nightmare.

Last week, that awful truth came home to the parents of Ana Alliegro, a 44-year-old political operative who has been sitting in jail for almost six months over a campaign-finance conspiracy that, she admitted Tuesday, was hatched by Rivera.

“If Rivera was indeed her friend, he should have come forth long ago to accept or refute the allegations,” Alliegro’s father, Anselmo Alliegro, wrote in the comments section of a local legal blog.

“She has suffered enough expecting Rivera to come [to] her defense,” he wrote. “A person that shows such callous disregard for a friend’s sacrifice does not deserve loyalty.”

To call Ms. Alliegro “loyal” is an understatement. She was more like a cult adherent to Rivera. Yes, she willingly broke the law, but she was also under his thrall.

The devotion to Rivera, at least at first, was somewhat understandable. He’s charming. Funny. Smart. Hardworking. Powerful. He also has a few media apologists, mainly Spanish-language, who praise him or attack anyone who questions him.

For Alliegro, Rivera implicitly promised political and social status. He also could get his hands on lots of money.

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'Souls to the polls' returns to Miami-Dade early voting

@doug_hanks @PatriciaMazzei

On Sunday morning, Rev. Steven Caldwell urged his parishioners to do their “godly duty” and vote in the primary election, warning them that “if you think your vote doesn’t count, the Devil has lied to you.”

If Caldwell’s booming words weren’t enough to move his flock, he had a coach bus waiting outside to drive them to an early-voting site after the service.

“We thank God for letting us play a part in the political process,” said Caldwell, pastor at the New Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Miami. “We’re going to vote. Amen.”

New Providence’s early-voting bus trip represented just one cog in a broad effort by African-American churches to get their members to cast ballots on the last day of early voting before Primary Day on Tuesday.

Championed by Democrats, the churches’ “Souls to the Polls” strategy helped fuel a partisan battle in 2012 when Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-led Legislature barred early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. They brought it back for 2014, making Sunday a revival of sorts for the relatively new campaign tradition.

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Dems plan unity rally






It took weeks for Rod Smith to endorse Jim Davis for governor after their bruising 2006 Democratic primary, and in 2002 Janet Reno did not even concede the gubernatorial primary to Bill McBride for a week. Voting problems in south Florida had left the outcome in doubt.


This year Democrats are determined not to lose precious time struggling to unite before focusing on the general election. Party leaders are planning a couple ambitious unity rallies on Thursday.

Gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nan Rich will be together in Orlando Thursday morning, along with George Sheldon and Perry Thurston, the rivals for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be on hand, among others.

The gang will hold another unity rally Thursday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale

David Rivera was named co-conspirator, but his Miami congressional rivals have moved on


Although the mysterious name behind “Co-conspirator A” was already known, the timing of its disclosure in a Miami courtroom last week could not have been worse for David Rivera.

Rivera’s friend, Ana Alliegropleaded guiltyTuesday to conspiring with the former Republican congressman to finance a novice candidate who challenged Rivera’s archrival, Joe Garcia, in the 2012 Democratic primary. Her testimony is considered crucial to any possible indictment of Rivera.

Yet Rivera’s four opponents in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the 26th Congressional District — as they’ve done throughout the campaign — have largely ignored the once-influential politician, knowing full well that media coverage of the federal probe has badly damaged him. They have preferred to focus on Garcia.

“We don’t lay judgment on other people,” Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall said after a Friday debate. He was referring to himself and Joe Martinez, two Rivera rivals and former Miami-Dade County police officers.

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The Charlie Crist-Nan Rich campaign that wasn't

@MarcACaputo @Stevebousquet

Charlie Crist has ignored his Democratic opponent for nearly a year, and now voters will decide the soundness of his strategy Tuesday in the party’s primary race for governor.

Crist is expected to roll up a big double-digit victory over Nan Rich, a former state Senate Democratic leader whose lack of name identification was matched by her inability to mount an effective campaign that excited voters or garnered media attention.

Crist refused to debate Rich, focusing instead on Republican Gov. Rick Scott and inflaming Rich and her supporters in the process.

But voters don’t seem to be holding it against Crist, even in Rich’s home county of Broward, where Crist opened a regional headquarters, rented a beachfront apartment and will gather with supporters Tuesday night rather than in his usual place, his hometown of St. Petersburg.

“I like Nan Rich, but I voted for Charlie Crist because he has the best chance of beating Rick Scott,” said Richard Maisel, 76, who lives in Rich’s Weston-based precinct. Maisel said his wife, Janice, also voted for Crist when they cast their ballots at a Broward early-voting site.

Closest to home, Rich has not stirred much enthusiasm. Of the 1,300 registered Democrats in Rich’s precinct, only 59 have cast early and absentee ballots, a sign of low overall turnout in this Democrat-rich county.

Even if there’s a small Democratic turnout Tuesday across Florida, Crist said, he isn’t worried that it wouldn’t indicate the base of the party wasn’t ready to vote for him in the general election.

“The base is excited,” Crist said. “And the base is excited because of Rick Scott. He’s a four-year disaster.”

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