Former Florida US Rep. Grayson seeks third stint in Congress
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Fiery former Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is running to be sent to Congress a third time, saying Tuesday that more people in his former Florida district still think he’s their congressman rather than the man who replaced him.
Grayson was elected to Congress in 2008 and elected out in 2010. Voters sent him back to Congress in 2012, but he gave up his seat for an unsuccessful 2016 Senate run. He will now seek another return to Washington by challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.
“I had several little pet projects that didn’t come to fruition,” Grayson said, adding that one was trying to lure a Federal Reserve Bank to the Orlando area “There’s stuff like that that didn’t get done because I decided to go for the promotion but didn’t get it.”
On the same day Grayson was soundly defeated by then-U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Senate primary, Soto beat Grayson’s wife, Dena, in the Democratic primary for the seat Grayson gave up. Soto went on to easily win the general election in a district that’s considered safely Democratic. Murphy lost the general election to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
“After we defeated his wife in the last primary, I had always assumed he’d be running,” said Soto, who called Grayson’s losing Senate campaign “an annihilation.”
“There’s going to be a classic divider versus uniter type of race,” Soto said.
Although Grayson received only 18 percent of the vote in his primary, he did carry counties in the central Florida district he represented. Grayson pointed out that Soto won only 36 percent of the vote in which Dena Grayson and Grayson’s former district director, Susannah Randolph, combined received 56 percent of the vote.
“Is there anyone else in the entire country who is serving in Congress that had 36 percent of the vote?” Grayson said. “Seventy percent of the district doesn’t know that Darren Soto is their congressman. There are more people who think I’m their congressman.”
Grayson received national attention when he said that the Republican health care plan was to “die quickly.” He’s known as combative campaigner — Murphy called him “Angry Alan” in their Senate contest — and for inflammatory comments.