Dems hitting Sessions, GOP leaders over candidate controversy in Florida

Democrats are using the controversy over years-old allegations leveled at Florida congressional candidate David Rivera to hit NRCC Chair Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).   

Democrats in Florida and nationally are echoing allegations of domestic violence against Rivera, who is running in an open seat race in the state's 25th Congressional District, and claiming Rivera "ran a delivery truck off the road to prevent a rival candidate’s campaign literature from being mailed" back in 2002. 

Rivera has been talked up as candidate by Sessions and Boehner, and he's a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program, so the controversy now surrounding Rivera's campaign is unwelcome news for the committee.

“One day, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions promotes the candidacy and character of David Rivera, and the next, these explosive revelations come to light,” said DCCC spokesperson Jennifer Crider.

But Rivera and the NRCC are pushing back hard against the allegations, calling them outright lies. In a statement late Friday, Rivera said the charges were false and said it all stems from a case of mistaken identity. 

“When I ran for the Florida state house in 2002, a last-minute campaign mailer was sent falsely accusing me of domestic violence. The mailer cited a 1994 case involving another individual also named David Rivera," the candidate said in a statement.

"In my 2010 campaign for Congress, some of my opponents have tried to use these same false allegations from 2002 to libel, slander and defame my character," Rivera continued. "While I find it offensive to even dignify these false allegations with any response at all, let me be clear: The 1994 case has absolutely nothing to do with me. I am not the David Rivera in that case and to suggest otherwise is a blatant and shameful lie. Campaigns should be based on issues, not false personal attacks.”

The story reemerged earlier in the week after a report from a local Florida TV station uncovered an eight-year-old police report of a traffic accident between Rivera and a truck that was carrying his opponent's campaign fliers.

Rivera was running for the legislature at the time, and the fliers detailed what Rivera maintains was a false domestic violence allegation against him.