The Democratic primary showdown between U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and his predecessor Alan Grayson officially became a two-man battle Friday afternoon as ballot qualifying closed for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The winner will be met by Republican candidate Wayne Liebnitzky, who drew no Republican primary challengers between him and the November general election.
Soto, completing his first term representing CD 9, covering Osceola County, south Orange County, and eastern Polk County, is an Orlando lawyer and former Florida state representative and state senator.
Grayson, who served CD 9 for two terms and CD 10 for one term, is an Orlando lawyer who took the past couple years off from politics after losing the Democratic primary for Florida’s U.S. Senate race in 2016.
Their battle for the August 28 Democratic primary is expected to be a bruising, marquee contest.
Liebnitzky, a St. Cloud businessman, lost the 2016 general election to Soto.
He is the only candidate of the three who qualified for the ballot this time by petition, turning in more than 5,000 certified signatures. Soto and Grayson sent in $10,440 checks.
Another Republican had filed, but Sean Buchan stepped out of the race months ago without formally withdrawing and did not qualify for the ballot.