Alan Grayson to Challenge Fellow Dem in Florida Primary

Alan Grayson (R) with Sen. Bernie Sanders / @alangrayson Facebook
May 1, 2018

Former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson (Fla.) announced on Tuesday that he will run for his old seat in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, challenging his successor, Rep. Darren Michael Soto (D., Fla.).

Party leaders hoped to avoid a primary battle in Florida’s 9th, which stretches southeast from eastern Orlando, but Grayson doesn't care, according to Politico.

"I don’t need anyone’s permission to run for office," Grayson told Florida station WFTV in Orlando. "What I’ve done is ask the people. I can run anywhere in the state; I could run from Key West to Pensacola."

Grayson said earlier this month he would run for office again but wasn't sure about what district it would be in until now.

Politico reports Grayson has a considerable cash advantage over Soto.

Alan Grayson has high name ID in the district and more money than Soto. Independently wealthy and an effective online fundraiser, Grayson reported $700,000 cash on hand in his open congressional campaign account as of March 31. For the same time period, Soto had $365,000 in the bank.

In 2016, Grayson left his House seat to run for the Senate against fellow Democrat Patrick Erin Murphy in a primary. The former congressman promised his Senate campaign would be one that would "live until the end of time." Grayson lost the primary by over 30 points.

Looking back, the Florida Democrat regrets running for Senate.

"I wish I hadn’t run for Senate," said Grayson. "If I hadn’t run for Senate, I’d be in Congress right now fighting Donald Trump tooth and nail right now. I think Donald Trump should be impeached."

Back in February, Grayson was hired and fired, on the same day, by Politifact after his employment elicited backlash from both Democrats and Republicans. Critics cited his history of controversial statements and threats he made to have a reporter arrested for questioning him about domestic abuse allegations.

Grayson has history of using violent rhetoric against his opponents.