David Rivera is a walking case study on everything aspiring politicians should avoid.
The one-term former congressman couldn’t even clinch a victory in the Republican primary for his 2012 re-election bid. He didn’t even trap 10 percent of the vote, coming in fourth place in the five-way race won by Carlos Curbelo.
If winning by a few points in Florida is a mandate, what’s it say when a politician loses by 40 points in a primary election for a seat they already hold?
For the sane-minded, it should indicate that it’s time to move on. Not to Rivera.
In 2018, he tried his darndest to reboot his political career with a run for state House District 105 — disregarding how much of a downgrade that would be for a former congressman, he managed to bungle it through staggering incompetence.
After tossing $360,000 of his own money into his bid, he failed to qualify for the ballot. Simply put: Something the dimmest of also-rans manage with ease cycle after cycle was too tall an order for Rivera.
That’s in addition to the allegations he illegally funneled $69,000 to the campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, a straw man candidate in the 2012 Democratic primary for Florida’s 25th Congressional District. Even if his harebrained scheme worked, that’s the election where he got trounced by Curbelo.
Rivera still hasn’t learned his lesson, according to several lobbyists and political operatives who frequent the halls of the state Capitol.
The only thing that has changed over the past year: He has hitched his political future, or lack thereof, to Rhonda Rebman-Lopez, one of three Republicans running to replace term-limited Rep. Holly Raschein in House District 120.
Those in The Process are understandably nonplussed that Rivera is her plus-one when making the rounds in Tallahassee.
“I’ve seen David walking the halls, taking her around and I literally duck into whatever office is closest rather than have to shake his hand,” said one lobbyist at a Top-10 firm.
As it stands, she has taken a lead in fundraising after less than a month in the race. With more than $60,000 raised in September, she has more than double the on-hand cash of the next-closest contender, fellow Republican Alexandria Suarez.
But if she’s taking advice from Rivera, she’ll need more than money to come out on top in the Republican Primary — assuming she even makes the ballot.