What David Rivera has in common with Sarah Palin
Miami Rep. David Rivera looks as if he left a sure thing -- his race for the state Senate – for an almost-as-sure thing: his race for Congressional District 25, according to the results of a poll conducted in the Senate district before Rivera switched races this month.
Tom Eldon, who has conducted surveys for the Times/Herald, conducted the poll for the trial lawyers who wanted to see the frontrunner in Senate District 38. Rivera would have beaten fellow Republican Rep. Anitere Flores 58-19. Because so much of SD38 is in CD25, Eldon says, the poll is a good gauge of Rivera’s congressional chances.
“Among Republican voters, David Rivera is almost in Sarah Palin country,” Eldon said. “He’s definitely the frontrunner.”
Rivera’s favorables: 59 percent. His negatives: 5 percent. Palin’s numbers: 65.16. Only two people have better favorable than Palin: incumbent U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (87percent) and U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (74 percent). Rubio’s numbers are probably like that across Miami-Dade, a problem for his opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, whose fav/unfav isn’t so good: 43/43 in the district.
Rivera faces radio host Paul Crespo in the CD25 race. And state Senate Republican leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla made early rumblings about entering the race.A poll of CD25 Republican voters last month showed Diaz de la Portilla was the best-known and best-liked. The S38 poll showed Diaz de la Portilla’s fav/unfav was 55/14. That’s within striking range of Rivera in the district. But the percentage of those who view Rivera “very favorably” was 40, while Diaz de la Portilla had only 18 percent who saw him “very favorably.”
While Diaz de la Portilla hasn’t done much to show that he’s serious about running, Rivera has flown to Washington to line up support and is aggressively raising money this session. About the time Rivera announced his bid for Congress, fliers from his state Senate campaign popped in a few mail boxes to help boost his name ID. One page of the mailer, which offered folks a free cup of coffee, had the neutral "David Rivera Campaign" printed on it. More recently, Rivera's sending out petition forms to get him on the ballot for CD25.
Miami Lakes Mayor Mike Pizzi, also thinking of running for CD25, has questioned whether Rivera is illegally commingling state and federal accounts. Rivera said he isn’t. Pizzi also says Rivera should stop raising money for the session – a practice banned for sitting legislators who seek state (but not federal) office. Rivera has refused.