Alan Grayson to Announce Senate Bid Thursday

A source says Grayson will announce his bid on an Orlando-area TV station. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
A source says Grayson will announce his bid on an Orlando-area TV station. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted July 8, 2015 at 12:23pm

Rep. Alan Grayson, a liberal firebrand whose outspokenness irks members of his own party, will announce a bid for Florida’s open Senate seat Thursday morning on a Florida TV station, according to a source with knowledge of Grayson’s plans.  

Grayson’s entry into the race could turn into a messy primary with fellow Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, national Democrats’ pick for this competitive seat, vacant this cycle thanks to GOP Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid.  

Some Democrats fear Grayson could be problematic for the party as it seeks to net the five seats necessary to wrest Senate control from Republicans. President Barack Obama carried Florida twice, making it a prime pickup opportunity, especially in an open-seat race.  

Grayson is known for making incendiary comments. He compared the tea party to the white supremacist KKK , and is currently entwined in an ugly and public divorce battle .  

And while Murphy is a prolific fundraiser, reporting $2.5 million in cash on hand at the end of June, Grayson has the ability to self-fund his campaign — he’s the 17th richest member of Congress , according to Roll Call’s ranking of the wealthiest members in the House and Senate, with a net worth valued at at least $26.2 million.  

Republicans hope Grayson will push Murphy to the left and force him to spend heavily to defeat Grayson in a primary.  

Republicans will have their own primary. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera are running. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is also poised to enter the race in the coming days.  

Florida’s Senate contest is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.  

Grayson will have to vacate his 9th District seat in order to run for Senate. The central Florida-based seat is rated a Safe Democratic seat, voting for Obama by a 24-point margin in 2012.  

The most likely Democrat to run for Grayson’s seat is state Sen. Darren Soto, an attorney who was a member of the state House before moving up to the Senate in 2012.