Many Believe Webster Poised to Enter Race Against Grayson

Posted October 6, 2009 at 2:05pm

With many eyes trained on candidate recruitment efforts against Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in Florida’s 8th district, it appears that speculation about who might be the GOP’s standard-bearer is focused squarely on one high-profile potential challenger — former state Sen. Dan Webster.

State Rep. Steve Precourt (R) said he “firmly— believes Webster will announce his candidacy in the coming days, and Precourt promised to do his “level best— to help the Republican beat the vulnerable freshman Democrat, who is close to the top of the GOP’s 2010 target list.

Precourt’s name has been in the mix as a possible candidate, and his comments come one day after Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty took himself out of consideration for the race, noting that he “is not a good fit at this time.—

State Sen. Andy Gardiner (R) is another well-known state legislator being mentioned as a possible candidate in the race.

But Webster, a one-time Senate candidate who is viewed as the biggest name in the GOP field, told Orlando newspapers Monday that he plans to make his political plans known this week.

Precourt, a Webster ally, noted that his assumption about the state Senator’s candidacy is not based on any specific conversation he had with Webster. However, Webster “has not said ‘no’ and it’s not like him to let it go this long— unless he was making a serious commitment.

“I’m highly vested in Sen. Webster running,— Precourt said.

Grayson, who was already expected to be a top target next year, has drawn fire from the GOP ever since he charged that Republicans want the sick to “die quickly.— He has refused to apologize for the remark and turned it into a fundraising bonanza for his campaign.