Alan Grayson to run for Congress against Darren Soto in August primary


  • photo by Joey Roulette
Alan Grayson wants his seat back from U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.

The progressive firebrand told WFTV 9 on Tuesday that he will be challenging Soto during the Aug. 28 Democratic primary for Florida's 9th Congressional District, which runs from southeast Orlando to Kissimmee and Winter Haven. Grayson formerly represented the district until he left in 2016 to run for U.S. Senate and eventually lost in the Democratic primary to Patrick Murphy.

Soto won the seat that same year, becoming the first Congress member from Florida of Puerto Rican descent. In the wake of Hurricane Maria's catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico, the Orlando Democrat has become an advocate for the island and the evacuees who fled the disaster to Central Florida.

"I wish I hadn’t run for Senate," Grayson, 60, told WFTV. "If I hadn’t run for Senate, I’d be in Congress right now fighting Donald Trump tooth and nail right now. I think Donald Trump should be impeached."

Aside from being known nationally for boiling down the Republican health care plan to the phrase, "Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly," Grayson lists among his accomplishments the expansion of SunRail and the establishment of the Orlando VA Medical Center.

His last political campaign, though, was pretty controversial. In 2016, the House Office of Congressional Ethics said there was "a substantial reason to believe" Grayson violated ethics rules after he was accused of using his position to solicit investments for his hedge fund. At the time, Grayson called the allegations "politically motivated" and "a witch hunt." The House Ethics Committee never launched a full-scale probe into the allegations.

When a Tampa Bay Times editor asked Grayson about the hedge fund, the representative shouted, "Are are you some kind of shitting robot?! You go around shitting on people?!"

During his Senate run, Grayson also faced allegations of spousal abuse from his ex-wife, which he strongly denied. Grayson got into an altercation with a Politico reporter who asked him about the accusations, threatening him with arrest. That incident led to PolitiFact firing Grayson as a contributor last February after a backlash from journalists.

Grayson's wife, Dena Grayson, decided to run in the Democratic primary in 2016 for her husband's vacated seat. The medical researcher lost the primary that year to Soto.

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