Alan Grayson Jumps into the Florida Senate Race, Setting up an Expensive Democratic Primary

by Jeff Singer –

alan grayson for senate

On Thursday, Alan Grayson announced that he would run for the Senate, setting off an expensive Democratic primary with fellow Rep. Patrick Murphy. Both parties know that Florida’s open seat could decide which side holds the Senate, and the Grayson-Murphy match will be closely watched.To say that Grayson is polarizing would be a massive understatement. Supporters admire the congressman as an outspoken liberal who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Grayson first rose to prominence during the 2009 health care reform debate when he summarized the GOP’s alternative plan as “[d]on’t Get Sick! And If You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!” Grayson has also made headlines for comparing the tea party to the KKK and praising the Occupy Wall Street movement.

By contrast, Murphy has a completely different profile. Murphy was a Republican until 2011 and he still has a reputation as a moderate. Murphy ran ads during his successful 2014 re-election campaign casting himself as a bipartisan problem solver, and he voted for the Keystone Pipeline and weakening Wall Street reform at the beginning of the year. Murphy has been a leader on more liberal causes like net neutrality and medical marijuana, but Grayson and his allies aren’t going to hesitate to make this primary an ideological battle.

But Grayson’s intra-party detractors are worried that his shoot-from-the-lip style will cost them a critical pickup. Grayson’s style didn’t play well during the 2010 midterms, when he ran an ad accusing his Republican opponent of being a religious fanatic. The “Taliban Dan” spot used an out-of-context clip to make its point and it almost certainly played a role in Grayson’s 56-38 loss to now-Rep. Daniel Webster.

Grayson returned to the House in 2012 in a different seat, and he’s remained a lightning rod for controversy. Grayson is currently involved in a very messy public divorce, and we recently learned that he has strange offshore accounts that may violate House rules. Grayson’s personal style hasn’t changed much: When reporter Adam Smith asked Grayson about his accounts, he memorably asked if Smith was “some kind of shitting robot?”

National Democrats haven’t done much to hide how much they dread the prospect of Grayson as their nominee. The DSCC endorsed Murphy months ago, and the Florida Democratic establishment has rallied behind him. Murphy has a reputation as a great campaigner: He narrowly defeated tea party favorite Allen West in 2012 even as Romney was carrying his seat, and he easily won last year in the face of a GOP wave.

Republicans are also looking forward to a nasty Grayson-Murphy duel. The conservative Club for Growth recently ran a spot attacking Murphy and praising Grayson, and we’ll probably see more of that as next year’s primary approaches. It’s no secret that Republicans would rather face Grayson than Murphy, but they’d be content with just bloodying up Murphy ahead of the general election.

Both Grayson and Murphy are excellent fundraisers and there’s no doubt that this is going to be an expensive primary. The good news for Team Blue is that the GOP is going to have a costly intra-party match of their own. Tea partying Rep. Ron DeSantis and businessman Todd Wilcox are both in, and the more establishment-flavored Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is going to join them on July 15. Longtime Rep. Jeff Miller is also likely to jump in, and a few other Republicans are still considering.

There haven’t been many polls here, and neither Democratic congressman starts out well known statewide. However, we can expect that to change over the next year as the ads start to fly. Grayson’s campaign comes as bad news to national Democrats but it certainly won’t be boring. We’ll be watching all the developments at Daily Kos Elections.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

 

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Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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