David Rivera is baaaack — to his roots in State House race

Former Congressman David Rivera is going back to his roots.

David RiveraRivera told everyone earlier this month that he was running for state House in the seat abandoned by Rep. Frank Artiles (R-Kendall), who is leaving his final term to run for the Senate.

There’s even a kick-off fundraiser Tuesday at one of his old haunts, Cuban Crafters, owned by former State Rep. and Sen. Al Gutman.

Rivera is serious about House District 118. It overlaps with the area he represented in Congress for two years and also includes much of the area he ruled as a state rep from 2003 to 2011.

Those were the glory days, huh? Rivera was pals and roomies with Sen. Marco Rubio, then a House Speaker and future presidential contender. He had both more success and fun as a state rep than he did in D.C. He still hangs around in Tallahassee a lot, where he does God knows what. “Consulting,” he calls it. Deals, I think. And reminiscing. He would love nothing more than to return to the original chamber he served in.

And it’s not unimaginable.

Read related story: David Rivera collects petition signatures for 2016 House run

Sure, Rivera lost his congressional seat to Joe Garcia inanadavid 2012, but he was dogged by headlines and news reports of an investigation into campaign finance violations –– not bribery or graft or any real crime  that seems to have never bore any fruit and has apparently fizzled away. Sources say the U.S. Attorney is loathe to call the case on his one and only witness, the somewhat unstable (read: batshit crazy) Ana Alliegro, who has apparently resurfaced with a story about Rivera attacking her when he was with friends in Tally. They can’t call her now.

And sure, Rivera has a primary to get through first. There are already two other Republicans running for that seat.

One is Anthony Rodriguez, who Ladra believes is Artiles’ handpicked successor. Anthony RodriguezIt’s just a gut feeling. That and this picture from one of the representative’s self-serving Farm Share events.

And then there is a guy named Steven Rojas Tallon, a 33-year-old father of four who nonetheless has time to work as some kind of program lead for talent development at FIU in an initiative with the Beacon Council and also still serve on the county board tasked with overseeing the $2.8 billion general obligation bond. Quien es la palanca?

And — just to make things more interesting — there is the rumor that former Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell is going to jump into this race for House 118. She is probably salivating at the possibility and some say she may announce next month.

And sure, the last time Rivera was in a primary, he lost miserably, coming in a distant fourth behind Carlos Curbelo, Joe Martinez and Ed MacDougall in the congressional race for his old seat. He only got 8 percent, less than half of what MacDougall, the anglo former mayor of Cutler Bay, got. Que pena!

But this is a different voter geography. Bell and Rodriguez and Rojas Tallon could somehow split the anti-Rivera votes between them, and Rivera could slide into the general with his very deep base of loyalists and face off against the relatively unknown Robert Asencio, a former Miami-Dade Schools Police lieutenant and public labor champion who has already spent $12,000 of the $20K he has raised in a year.

Read related story: David Rivera has no past, only a future at Cuba Nostalgia

And sure, Obama won the district with 51.7 percent of the vote in 2012.

But people keep forgetting that Obama is not on the ticket. And Hillary isn’t as inspiring. Also, another Democrat ran in 2014, one recruited by the party who should have performed very well. But he was crushed in an off year with Artiles getting 58 percent of the vote — almost ten points more than Gov. Rick Scott only got, which indicates that voters are willing to vote for a Democrat in one race and a Republican in another on the same ballot.

And we’re talking about David Rivera here. The Teflon Man. Ol’ Nine Lives, himself.

Ladra will start taking bets now.