Alan Grayson enters race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat

Alan Grayson
The progressive political brawler says voters deserve to see a clear choice.

Brash, progressive former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is running for the U.S. Senate.

The three-term Democratic former Congressman from Central Florida has been exploring the possibility of a U.S. Senate run since March. On Friday, he began running social media ads attacking Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and touting his own commitment to universal health care.

“I think we were pretty much there,” Grayson told Florida Politics Friday. “Now we’re going to try to take it up a notch.”

Grayson is known for taking it up a notch. Or two.

In his three terms between 2009 and 2017, he earned national attention as a symbol of loud, unapologetic, liberal Democrats — often combative, sometimes controversial, revered by progressives, and reviled by Republicans across the country. On the House floor, he most famously declared that Republicans’ health care plan amounted to “Republicans want you to die quickly.

At one point, Grayson was nearly omnipresent on liberal late-night talk shows and capable of raising huge sums of campaign money in short order from small donors all across the country. He boasts that he created the template for small-donor campaign fundraising that eventually fueled Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders’ national campaigns.

But Grayson gave up his seat in 2016 for a chance to run against Rubio and lost in the Democratic primary. Then he lost in another primary in a 2018 attempt to win back Florida’s 9th Congressional District from his successor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.

Now Grayson is entering the Democratic primary field dominated by another Orlando-area Democrat, U.S. Rep. Val Demings. Both live in Windermere.

Grayson said he’s running to give people “a genuine choice” based on issues.

“I think the campaign against Rubio badly needs someone who is going to explain what he is going to do to improve the lives of people in Florida,” Grayson said. “We’ve had too many campaigns over the last quarter-century in Florida where Democrats don’t promise to do anything and run what amounts to vanity campaigns. I think people deserve more than that. They deserve a choice.”

“So someone needs to run a campaign that pledges to increase social security benefits, increase Medicare benefits, ground on solid foundation the $300 a month child tax credit that’s been proposed, raise wages, and provide universal health care, as well as cleaning up pollution and assuring equal rights,” Grayson said.

Can Grayson, out of the limelight for years, regain any of his old support? In the 2018 CD 9 Primary, Grayson drew support from the usual progressive groups but found much of his party turning on him to support Soto’s reelection.

“Time will tell,” he said.

His Senate campaign ad is a variation of his “die quickly” line. Over a black-and-white picture of Rubio, the ad reads, “Don’t get sick.” Under Grayson’s picture, the ad reads, “Medicare for All.”

In another ad, Grayson brings back old allegations of corruption against Rubio, dating from Rubio’s time in the Florida House. The video ad also charges that Rubio has been a no-show in the Senate. A narrator calls Rubio “another all talk, no action politician.”

Grayson has some money for such ads and to launch his campaign.

Since his last run, he has kept open a campaign account, annually filing in one Florida district or another to maintain his options and raise a little money, but not to actually mount a campaign. That account, which was tied in March for a run in Florida’s future 28th Congressional District, had $287,000 in it at the end of June, according to the most recent reports available through the Federal Election commission.

Presumably, the money is being transferred to his Senate account, which showed no financial activity by June 30. If so, that cash balance would put Grayson well behind Rubio, who had $6.2 million in his Senate campaign account, and Demings, who had $3.1 million in hers. It would put Grayson in fourth place for the Senate campaign money chase, behind Democrat Ken Russell, who finished the second quarter with $346,000 in the bank, but ahead of Democrats Allen Ellison and William Sanchez.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Anna

    August 13, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..iii she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

    check this……

  • Evan Miller

    August 14, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Alan Grayson is a washed up loser.

  • Pareto

    August 15, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Is it possible that Alan Grayson is trying to fool you? Is it possible that his real intention is to run for a congressional seat and that, just as he did last time, he will announce his decision at the last moment? Is it possible that he is claiming to be running for the senate only to keep his name in the news?

  • Pedro

    August 16, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    I plan to vote for Val Demings in the primary. She will be the strongest and best candidate against Rubio.

Comments are closed.


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