MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Southwest Ranches businesswoman has announced that she’ll challenge U.S. Rep. David Rivera for the new 26th Congressional District.

Gloria Romero Roses is a managing partner of Nexus Homes, a company that helps assisted living centers.

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“As a real estate professional, I have seen the boom-bust cycle of our local economy that comes from our reliance on construction and housing to be the economic engine,” said Roses in a statement. “Florida’s growth has been stagnant coming out of this downturn in part because Congressman David Rivera has been too focused on defending himself in his ongoing scandals rather than fighting for jobs and strengthening our small businesses.”

Romero Roses has received the endorsement of Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux who called the Republican congressman “corrupt” and said he’s “pushing an agenda which is out of touch with Florida’s middle class families”.|

In response to Romero Roses announcing her campaign intentions, Rivera’s office issued a statement saying the congressman is focused on doing the job the voters elected him to do. The statement reads in part:

“Once the redistricting process is over, and Democrats have finally settled on choosing a candidate, there will be more than enough time this Fall to deal with their false and negative campaign attacks.”

Rivera declined an interview request from CBS 4 News.

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He was reportedly the subject of a year long investigation after he allegedly took advantage of a little-known loophole in Florida’s campaign finance laws to collect tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of dollars in unreported donations during his years in the state Legislature.

State law limits campaign contributions to no more than $500 per person. And elected officials must report every dollar they receive and how they spend it.

The state’s investigation of Rivera has stalled as prosecutors now realize they may not be able to charge Rivera with a crime because Rivera collected the money under a little-known loophole in Florida election law.

Tucked in among the 31,890 words of the state’s campaign finance law – is this 14 word sentence: “However, this definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.”

Using the relatively obscure position of Republican Party State Committeeman, Rivera was allegedly able to quietly raise money from lobbyists and corporations and spend it with no oversight whatsoever.

“Our country is at a crossroads, and I want to be a leader that middle class families can trust to kick start our community’s effort to diversify the economy and put South Florida back to work,” said Roses. “I want to go to Congress not for personal gain, but to strengthen the middle class, protect Social Security and Medicare, and improve educational opportunities for our young people.”

Romero Roses was born in Columbia and has been in Florida since the age of seven. 

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