Amid Rivera rumors, Trujillo says he’s ready for any primary challenger

Matt Dixon, (@Mdixon55)

State Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, says he’s ready for a primary battle with anyone, including former Miami Congressman David Rivera.

Rumor that Rivera, a Republican, might drop his campaign to return to Congress and instead challenge Trujillo, whose seat includes parts of Miami-Dade and Collier Counties, was first noted by SaintPetersBlog, a St. Petersburg-based blog.

“We will wait until qualifying and address the situation from there,” Trujillo told the Scripps/Tribune Capitol Bureau. “We are prepared for a primary and general election race.”

Rivera, who would have to file to run by noon Friday, is currently qualified to run in the 26th Congressional District, which stretches from Miami to the Keys.

Rivera beat Democrat Joe Garcia in 2010, but lost to him by a 54-43 margin in 2012. If Rivera drops his bid to return to Washington, it would leave four Republicans in the race. The winner of the GOP primary will face Garcia, who does not have a primary opponent.

Rivera has not raised any money during the 2014 cycle, and his campaign has nearly $130,000 in debt, according to Federal Election Commission records. He did not return calls to his cell phone seeking comment.

He is currently under federal investigation related to a 2012 scheme to secretly fund a candidate to run against Garcia in the Democratic primary. That candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, pled guilty to his role in the scheme, which was first reported to by the Miami Herald. He has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Trujillo said he had not heard about the Rivera rumor until reading it online.

“My only knowledge is because of that blog or newspapers post,” he said.

His seat is the only district in Florida where the largest voting bloc is those registered with no major political party. NMP’s make up 34 percent of the electorate, while Republicans and Democrats each comprise 33 percent.

Trujillo’s campaign has raised $111,225 and spent just over $100,000. That includes $40,000 paid to Miami consulting firm National Victory Strategies for advertising, including television commercials.

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