What do you do after getting canned from Politifact for your, ahem, baggage? If you’re former Rep. Alan Grayson, you try to get yourself elected to office again, baggage and all. Grayson, who left his House seat to make a very ill-advised run for the Senate in 2016, wants to run for a Congressional seat once again.
But which one? Grayson says he’s not picky:
Firebrand Democrat Alan Grayson says he wants to return to Congress in 2018, but is not yet saying which seat he’s running for.
“Yes, this cycle is what I’m looking at,” Grayson told POLITICO Florida in a telephone interview Monday. “But Florida law says I can run anywhere.”
When pressed for specifics, he said: “TBD.”
Where he’d like to run is Florida’s 9th Congressional district, where he won twice in 2012 and 2014 on his previous return to the House. (Grayson lost in 2010 after a single term in FL-08, before redistricting made the district far more Republican.) Unfortunately for Grayson, Democrat Darren Soto won that seat in 2016 after fending off Grayson’s wife in the primary, who finished in third place. Soto is the first Florida representative of Puerto Rican descent to serve in the House, and a strong Hispanic demographic in FL-09 will likely keep Soto in place for as long as he likes.
However, it’s true that Grayson could choose to run for any House seat from Florida, as long as he resides in the Sunshine State. The question would be why any other district would want him — and indeed why Democrats would assist him in returning to DC. When they last saw Grayson, he had been embroiled in a House Ethics Committee probe over his hedge-fund moonlighting, which wasn’t a great look for a party railing against hedge-fund managers as part of their class-warfare schtick. Even the notorious smear merchant Harry Reid couldn’t stand him, publicly declaring that Grayson’s “actions aren’t just disgraceful to the Democratic Party, they disgrace the halls of Congress,” and told him to retire.
At the time of Grayson’s ignominious defeat in mid-2016, Marc Caputo offered a thumbnail overview of his low points:
Grayson once said the GOP alternative to Obamacare was to have people “die quickly;” called a reporter a “shitting robot”; branded a lobbyist a “K Street whore,” likened the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan, accused a Christian conservative opponent of being a member of the Taliban, and got into testy exchanges with Senate leaders. During the Senate campaign, Grayson was rocked by a House ethics investigation into his offshore hedge funds and a POLITICO report concerning allegations from his ex-wife that he physically abused her. He denied the charges.
We have more coverage of these issues and more at this link. The abuse charges will make Grayson really unpopular in today’s #MeToo environment. Which House district would welcome Grayson with that baggage?
Still, don’t count Grayson out entirely. Democrats will probably wash their hands of him, but he might turn up in a district just to make noise. Politico reports that he has funds and is still raising more, making an independent run not entirely unrealistic. Grayson could threaten to act as a spoiler in a competitive district just to force Dems to re-embrace him and move him to a better opportunity.
Grayson might just prove my friend Jorge Bonilla prophetic. When the Graysons flopped in mid-2016, Jorge shared a Puerto Rican proverb with me:
“We have a saying in Puerto Rico: ‘yerba mala nunca muere’ — bad weeds never die,” Bonilla said.
At the time, I scoffed. Now … I wonder.