MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Democratic incumbent running in a hotly contested Congressional race is calling in a major political heavyweight.
At a rally for his supporters, Congressman Joe Garcia surprised volunteers with a special guest. Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Miami to speak at a college graduation, made a pit-stop to stomp for Garcia.
“You’re going to have to knock on more doors this year than you ever did,” said Biden to campaign volunteers. “(Republicans) really want this seat.”
Biden said Garcia, the U.S. representative for the 26th district of Florida, is someone who reaches across the political aisle.
Meanwhile, Garcia welcomed the vice president of the United States by taking a jab at the Republicans who want his job.
“While the other side is having their own, little problems, we wanted to get started in a big way,” said Congressman Garcia.
Garcia’s four Republican opponents have a battle ahead of them in a primary race.
Add to that the most controversial GOP candidate, former Congressman David Rivera. Rivera once represented District 26. In 2012, he was voted out of office in scandal. The FBI and IRS are looking into his personal and campaign finances. Rivera maintains his innocence and officially filed the paperwork to be a candidate on Friday.
Aside from Rivera, there are three other Republicans running. They include School Board member Carlos Curbelo, former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed McDougall
Curbelo released a statement saying, “I just got the news and wanted to make sure that you heard it from me: David Rivera is going to run for Congress again, despite being under investigation by federal agencies for serious allegations that, like Joe Garcia, he participated in a fraudulent scheme to influence an election. I believe that our district deserves better. We deserve someone who is looking out for us, not themselves. As I talk to the people of this district, it is clear that they are ready for a change. We deserve better, and that is why I am running for Congress.”
Congressman Garcia wouldn’t address Rivera’s candidacy directly.
“It’s a Republican primary; let them deal with it,” said Garcia, since prominent Republicans have urged Rivera not to run. “They’re going to have a tough primary. They have a lot of people running.”