Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson says he's making another run for Congress

click to enlarge Fee, fi, fo, fum. - photo by Joey Roulette
photo by Joey Roulette
Fee, fi, fo, fum.
His campaign raised just more than $192,000 in the first quarter of 2018, but former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a progressive Democrat, has yet to decide on where in the state he’ll make another run for Congress.

But let’s be clear: As Orlando Rising reports Grayson saying on Monday, “I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives.” The decision as to which district, he added, “gets answered during the qualifying period,” which opens on April 30 and runs through May 4.

Grayson, who has stirred up his fair share of controversy over the years, served one term representing the state's 10th Congressional District and two representing the 9th Congressional District in Central Florida. Though Grayson has officially filed to run in Florida’s 11th Congressional District, he has doubled down on the fact that it’s just a holding spot for his paperwork as he continues to raise money for his latest campaign.

But before we dive into the wonk of where Grayson might actually make his run, let’s talk about the tumultuous acts and utterances, as well as some of the positive accomplishments, the former congressman has developed a reputation for in recent years. 

In early February, after the fact-checking website Politifact announced it had hired former Florida Reps. David Jolly, a Republican, and Grayson as “readers advocates,” the website almost immediately canned Grayson after social media pointed out that Grayson threatened to have a Politico reporter arrested in July 2016, following questions about domestic abuse allegations concerning Grayson and his wife.

In May 2016, when he appeared on MSNBC for an interview with host Joy Reid to discuss calls for him to drop out of the U.S. Senate race amid an ethics probe into management of his hedge fund, he somehow got into on-air spat with the host. Grayson interrupted her question by saying, "My goodness, more lies. Could you at least get your facts straight before you try to slime me on national TV? Is that asking too much?" But by no means was that a slight against the press, or against Reid for, you know, doing her job.

In November 2015, Grayson bizarrely (but we gotta admit ... kinda genius?) offered to call people's Republican uncles over Thanksgiving. As Grayson, who self-proclaimed himself in the post as an "idiot-savant," wrote on his Tumblr page, “Chip in $3 or more now to be entered to win a call from me to your most conservative relative, on Thanksgiving."

In May 2015, when questioned on whether his private hedge fund violated House ethics rules or not, Grayson shot back at a Tampa Bay Times reporter by calling him a “shitting robot.”

But Grayson's gaffes aside, the former congressman had a few noteworthy accomplishments during his time in Congress, too, which he made sure to point out to Orlando Weekly when he reached out following publication of this article.

"I actually have a legacy," Grayson tells OW.

At the local level, some of the accomplishments he's proudest of was his role in securing a number of grants and projects for his districts, such as the establishment of the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona and the expansion of SunRail.

Also of note is the fact that Grayson raised almost $2.5 million for his Senate campaign in 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission. He says he was the only member of Congress who financed his campaign primarily through small donors, rather than taking money from billionaires, lobbyists or special interest groups.

In July 2013, the website Slate even called Grayson the most effective member of the House.

"What I've shown and what I've demonstrated, which I'm hoping to demonstrate again, is that you can go to Congress without selling out," Grayson says. "That you can be un-bought and un-bossed, and that you can go to Congress owing nothing to anyone but the voters."

Asked what he thinks Florida voters want at the moment from their elected leaders, Grayson says, "Someone who's going to be effective in representing and advocating better lives for them."

Ideally, you’ve so far read between the lines and understand just how eccentric (a very nice, more-than-kind synonym for “strange,” at least in Grayson’s case) the former lawmaker can be on certain occasions. Adding to the obscure, Grayson also appointed his 19-year-old daughter, Star Grayson, as his campaign treasurer over the weekend, according to Orlando Rising.

Anyway, the ups and downs of Grayson's career in the public spotlight aside, here’s a few options of where he might run:

— Of course there’s CD 9, where Grayson served two terms. It now covers southern Orange County, Osceola County and eastern Polk County and is represented by Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat – whose campaign has been reportedly bracing for the potential primary challenge. (Grayson’s wife, Dena Grayson, ran for this seat in 2016 only to lose to Soto in the primary.)

— There’s CD 10, where Grayson served his first term. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat, currently holds that seat.

— There’s CD 6, which stretches from south of Jacksonville through Volusia County and into Lake County. That seat will be open as Rep. Ron DeSantis continues his bid for the GOP side of the Florida gubernatorial ticket.

— There’s CD 8, which consists mostly of Brevard County and a slice of eastern Orange County. Rep. Bill Posey, a Republican, currently holds that seat.

— There’s CD 7, which covers Seminole and north and central Orange counties. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat, holds that seat.

— And then there’s CD 11, which covers northwestern Lake County and parts of Central Florida stretching to The Villages and Spring Hill, and where Grayson is currently filed – and, making matters more interesting, that’s where Rep. Dan Webster, a Republican who beat Grayson in the 2010 election, currently represents.

This guy! Whatever else, he's never not entertaining.

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