Dems worry controversial ex-Rep. Grayson could emerge from ‘chaotic’ Florida primary race

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Current Florida Rep. The Democratic primary race to fill the House seat held by Val Demings is tight, and several people in the party leadership are concerned that it will benefit the former congressman, who may not run again.

Among the ten candidates in the primary race for Florida’s 10th District, which includes Orlando, is Alan Grayson, who represented the 8th District from 2009 to 2011 and the 9th District from 2013 to 2017. In 2016 he referred to a female lobbyist as “K Street scum,” cursed at a reporter and threatened to report a Politico reporter to the Capitol Police.

While progressive candidate Maxwell Alejandro Frost is gathering endorsements, the size of the primary field could split the vote enough to allow Grayson to enter, which Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., “is concerned about.”

“We know the polls are going to be really tight, but we know Maxwell’s got a lot of momentum on his side,” Gallego told Punchbowl News. “You have to remember [Frost] Started with zero name ID, and now the last poll has tied him.”

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Congressman Alan Grayson speaks at an impromptu news conference after leaving the crime scene of a shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, US June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Meeks, DNY, also spoke against Grayson, saying, “Our country is better off by having representatives who reflect our rich diversity.” The New Yorker accused Grayson of being “a man who wants to use his wealth to gain power.”

Representative. Mark Pocon, D-Wis., slammed Grayson for including earlier flattering statements from prominent Democrats who have not endorsed him in the race.

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“I love Alan Grayson,” one campaign mailer quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying. It comes from a 2018 Tampa Bay Times interview in which Pelosi addressed Grayon’s primary challenge against Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla. When Pelosi used the quoted statement, she followed it up by saying, “I’m sad that Alan chose to get back in that race.” The speaker spoke of Grayson, saying that she would “love to have him back,” but that she wishes “he would run in a different seat.”

Weighing in on this year’s primary election, Soto spoke bluntly.

“It’s a chaotic race,” he told Punchbowl. “That’s all I have to say.”

The same mailer used congratulatory language from President Biden and former President Barack Obama.

“It’s incredibly deceptive. If you try to win by lying to your future voters, that’s sad, right?” Pocon told Punchbowl. “And I don’t want Alan to think about Alan for a change… Unfortunately, some people are very selfish.”

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In response, Grayson asked if Pelosi had ever spoken of Pocon that way. He’s been “in the trenches with Nancy Pelosi for six years,” he said, contrasting the 25-year-old Frost’s inexperience.

Florida’s primaries will be held on Tuesday, and early voting is currently underway.

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