Isn’t Congressman Grayson bad enough? The charmer from Florida, who once called his Republican opponent “Taliban Dan” and once said that allowing Republicans in charge would be like letting al-Qaeda fly planes, has his eyes set on higher office. In an interview yesterday with The Hill, Alan Grayson said there was only one potential roadblock to a Senate run.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, you’re our only hope:
In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Grayson said he’s thinking about running. The often-controversial Democrat spoke at length about why he’d begin a potential Senate race in position of strength, whether he’s going up against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or not.
“We have some very substantial advantages,” Grayson said in an interview with The Hill on Tuesday. “I have over 100,000 individual contributors, no one else on the House Democratic side has anything like that. We have raised as much as $5 million in an individual cycle for a House seat, again there’s nobody [who has done that].”
Grayson indicated that the only thing that might keep him from running is if Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, enters the fray.
“She’s the head of the national party, extremely well-known and well-regarded,” Grayson said. “She’s got an enormous base of support not just in South Florida but around the country.”
Actually, Wasserman Schultz might be the Democrats’ only hope if Grayson’s serious about this. He might have the donors to win his House seat, but Grayson’s antics would be deadly for Democrats’ hopes in Florida, especially in what may be a very close presidential race. His fellow Democrats have had to distance themselves from him, notably in that 2010 race against Webster, with even Anthony Weiner calling Grayson “one fry short of a Happy Meal” after Grayson called one of Ben Bernanke’s aides a “K Street whore” during Congressional testimony.
Grayson managed to come back and win in a different district after his 2010 loss, but the GOP has plenty of material from Grayson’s own lips for statewide ads. We’ve got plenty of that material here, including his contention that the health-care system in the US was a “holocaust in America,” which earned Grayson a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League. In a close presidential election, having Grayson on the statewide ticket for Senator could make the difference in turnout to swing the state to the GOP, and Democrats know it.
What about Republicans? The seat open in 2016 has Marco Rubio in it at the moment, but he’s mulling whether to run for re-election or for the presidency. Townhall’s Dan Doherty finds that the vast majority of Floridians — especially Republicans — want him to stay where he is. Only 15% overall want Rubio to run for President, while 57% want him to go for a second Senate term, and that includes 68% of Republicans and 56% of independents:
In contrast, the numbers for Jeb Bush are more balanced — 42/43 overall, but 59/31 among Republicans. Bush doesn’t hold an office currently, which would account for some of the difference, but the wide disparity has to provide some counsel to Rubio as he pits himself against Bush, in part at least. He’s a one-term Senator — one who’s parlayed that into outsized influence, to be sure — not a governor with a solid track record of executive accomplishment, in a field that will likely be filled with the latter. He’s young enough to look four or eight years down the road too, perhaps with a gubernatorial run in 2018 as a possible springboard to a national run. Plus, holding Senate seats in 2016 has to be a GOP priority, one that may outweigh a long-shot bid for the presidency.
Of course, if Grayson wins the Democratic nomination, it won’t be all that difficult for Republicans to hold the seat. But perhaps Rubio might consider keeping it out of their hands entirely.