The race to replace carpetbagger Mario Diaz-Balart in congressional District 25 is heating up, and Democrat Joe Garcia has taken to the airwaves with an ad claiming his Republican opponent David Rivera once rammed into a truck on the Palmetto Expressway and ran it off the road to stop a former political rival's campaign flyers from being sent out. Did he really?
Here's Garcia's ad:
According to the CBS4 report, the ad cites the circumstantial evidence, at least, backs up Garcia's claims.
Back in 2002 Rivera was involved in a traffic accident with a truck that just so happened to be carrying flyers a former political rival was about to send out that attacked Rivera's character.
Before the truck could make it to the U.S. Post Office, according to the FHP report, a car driven by David Mauricio Rivera struck it, forcing the truck to the shoulder of the Palmetto Expressway right in the middle of evening traffic at 5:50 p.m., ten minutes before the truck's deadline to get to the post office which was 6 p.m. Eastern.
Rivera, who has refused to talk to CBS4 personally about the incident, released a statement that claims the accident happened because he wanted to pull the truck over on the Palmetto Expressway to "retrieve a batch of his own campaign fliers" that were also on the truck.
Rivera, in his statement, said he wanted to pull his fliers off the truck after learning Liberty Mail was "also producing mailers for Rivera's opponent..."
Rivera says he agreed to rendezvous with the truck on the exit ramp of the Palmetto, where Rivera said he removed his fliers from the truck.
The trouble is the FHP report says the accident happened in the middle of the road, specifically not on the exit or entrance ramps.
Today, Liberty Mailing claims that no flyer, neither the opponent's or Rivera's were removed from the truck, and everything was eventually mailed.
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This kind of last-minute attack on character by highlighting a particularly violent and volatile incident is nothing new.
Back in 2008, polls showed a close race between Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez in District 21. In the final weeks of the campaign, Diaz-Balart began airing ads showing footage of Martinez physically assaulting a protester.
"Physically assaulting a defenseless young man, then lying about it," said the voice-over actor in the ad. "Threatening lives, disrespecting women, appalling behavior ... Horrifying."
That ad was believed to play a big part in Diaz-Balart's eventual easy win.