Front-running U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio brought his star power Wednesday to one of Miami-Dade's busiest early voting sites to campaign with a close pal on shakier political ground: Republican congressional candidate David Rivera.
Rivera has been stung by reports in the Miami Herald that the U.S. Agency for International Development has no record of his employment, contrary to the sworn financial disclosure forms he filed as a state legislator. Rivera amended the forms to remove income from USAID after last week's Herald story but has refused to say what he does for a living outside his public office.
"I have no doubt that two weeks from yesterday, David will be the new congressman from District 25," Rubio, who served with Rivera in the Florida House, told supporters outside the early voting site at the West Dade Regional Library.
The appearance with Rivera as Rivera fends off allegations about his character signals Rubio's confidence in the crucial homestretch of the Senate race against Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek.
Rivera is competing against Democrat Joe Garcia in one of the most closely watched congressional contests in Florida.
Rivera and Rubio co-own a home in Tallahassee that was the subject of a foreclosure lawsuit earlier this year after the mortgage went unpaid for five months, according to court documents. The matter was settled.
Asked how Rivera earns money to help pay the mortgage, Rubio said, "You need to ask him."
For the past four years, USAID was the only income reported by Rivera, aside from his $30,000 salary as a legislator. Since 2003, he has not reported income from consulting work, even though state ethics rules require the disclosure of any annual income over $1,000.
"Look at the financial disclosure forms," Rivera said when asked about his sources of income. "They speak for themselves."