Alan Grayson to Run Again for Congress, But He's Not Sure Where


Alan Grayson / Getty Images
April 18, 2018

Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.) announced Monday he isn't sure in which Florida district it will be, but he plans to make another run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Grayson's campaign account raised $192,000 in the first quarter of 2018, fueling speculation he was mounting a political comeback. Grayson has now confirmed his intention to run this election cycle, according to Orlando Rising.

"I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives," Grayson said.

He added that the question of which district he would be running in would be "answered during the qualifying period."

Grayson's announcement comes on the heels of his infamously short tenure as a "reader advocate" at PolitiFact. Grayson was hired and fired, on the same day, after his employment elicited backlash from both Democrats and Republicans. Critics cited Grayson's history of controversial statements and threats he made to have a reporter arrested for questioning him about domestic abuse allegations.

The organization quickly cut ties with Grayson, stating it "became clear" he did not meet the "threshold to many" to "improve the trust and credibility in fact-checking."

The PolitiFact debacle was only the most recent chapter in Grayson's long and controversial history in politics.

First elected to the House in 2008 from Florida's 8th Congressional District, Grayson cut a progressive profile by criticizing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and championing health care reform. He courted controversy during a debate on Obamacare in 2009 when he took the House floor and excoriated his Republican colleagues for wanting Americans to "die quickly" upon getting sick.

During his 2010 reelection bid, Grayson drew rebuke for running an ad labeling his Republican opponent "Taliban Dan" and comparing the man's Southern Baptist religious views to those of Muslim fundamentalists. He lost his reelection bid by 18 points.

In 2011, Grayson launched his first political comeback bid by announcing a run for Florida's newly created 9th Congressional District. Grayson beat a little known Republican opponent by 25 points and touted his victory as "the biggest comeback in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives."

During his second spell in the House, Grayson attempted to tone down his rhetoric and criticism aimed at Republicans. Grayson's efforts proved mix. While he was able to work across the aisle, he also made waves by likening the Tea Party movement to the Ku Klux Klan in a fundraising email to donors.

In 2016, Grayson announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate. His campaign was hampered from the start by a House Ethics Committee investigation and allegations he abused his ex-wife over a two-decade period. Grayson, who denies the allegations, lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate by over 30 points and retired from elective office.

Prior to departing Congress, the Office of Congressional Ethics found there was "a substantial reason to believe" Grayson had violated House ethics rule and possibly federal law. The office referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which never launched a follow-up investigation.

Due to redistricting, Grayson has represented portions of no fewer than six of Florida's congressional districts during his two stints in Congress.

The period for candidates to qualify for elective office in the upcoming Florida elections begins on April 30 and runs through May 4.

UPDATED Friday, 10:05 A.M.: This story was updated to clarify that PolitiFact said in a statement on its decision to fire Grayson that he did not meet the threshold "to many" to improve the organization's credibility. The story was also updated to note that Grayson denies the allegations that he abused his wife, and that the Office of Congressional Ethics—not the House Ethics Committee, to which it referred the matter—found there was reason to believe Grayson violated ethics rules.