Earlier this month, disgraced ex-Congressman David Rivera got whacked by a state judge who found "corrupt intent" in the way he'd double-billed his campaign and fudged his spending records. His surprise bid to win the Republican primary for his old seat, meanwhile, has been stalled in the water with virtually no reported fundraising and $128,000 in loan debts.
So it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see Rivera dropping out of the race. What would be a shock, though, would be Rivera pivoting to run for the state House instead, which is just what one report claims this morning that he's doing.
Rivera has supposedly been making the rounds in Tallahassee this week, meeting with GOP leadership and talking up a challenge against sitting Rep. Carlos Trujillo, who represents House District 105, which covers parts of Dade and Broward counties.
The news comes via Saint Petersblog, which cites an anonymous Republican operative for the information.
The rumors may well be malarkey, but this much is beyond question: Rivera's longshot bid to return to D.C. has been looking ever-more-unlikely this month. The ex-congressman will only face potential fines -- no prison time -- over the state judge's rulings, but the headlines certainly don't do much to change his image as one of America's dirtiest politicians.
There's still reportedly an ongoing IRS investigation into Rivera's finances and a six-figure donation from a dog track, and his friend Ana Alliegro has already been indicted in another case stemming from a plot to run a bogus Democrat in the 2012 primaries against current Rep. Joe Garcia.
Rivera's campaign finances tell another stark tale. His main challenger for the Republican nod, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, has already raised more than $950,000, according to his latest disclosures.
Rivera lists zero contributions to date and $128,000 in loans; he's spent just $3,670 so far.
But switching to a state House run wouldn't exactly be an easier challenge. Trujillo is well established in the state party and has already raised more than $100,000 for his own race; Rivera would have to qualify for that election by Friday if he wanted to jump in.
The bottom line here is that no matter where Rivera tosses his hat into the ring, it's looking rather unlikely that he'll find himself an elected representative of the good people of Florida again come November.
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And that's reason to be grateful, so we may as well celebrate by re-watching this excellent video of Marc Caputo grilling Rivera and the ex-Congressman hilariously ducking and weaving: