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In robocall, Marco Rubio backs embattled friend David Rivera

U.S. Rep. David Rivera is getting a little help from at least one of his friends.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has recorded a robocall in support of Rivera, his longtime friend and Tallahassee housemate. The calls have been going out to voters in the Kendall-to-Key West Congressional District 26, where Rivera, a Republican, is running against Democrat Joe Garcia.

Rivera has been entangled in an FBI investigation into one of Garcia's primary opponents, Justin Lamar Sternad. Sternad has filed blank campaign finance-reports and invoked his right to remain silent to avoid incriminating himself in the probe.

Rubio was asked about the Sternad probe at an event in Little Havana's Versailles restaurant earlier this month. But the senator mostly kept mum on the matter -- and stepped out of in the rain as a reporter asked a follow-up question.

Republicans -- including Rubio, before the new robocall -- have been keeping their distance from Rivera, who has been conspicuously absent from local events with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Some have started speculating about a possible candidate to run for his seat in two years if Rivera loses to Garcia.

Rubio has been crisscrossing the country campaigning for Romney and other major Republican candidates. According to his office, he has also recorded calls for, among others, Florida Reps. Steve Southerland and Allen West (facing challenges from Democrats Al Lawson and Patrick Murphy, respectively) and hopeful Karen Harrington (who is challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz).