Alan Grayson Foes Growing Active in Central Florida
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Carol Platt of the Osceola County Realtors Association ramped up her campaign Tuesday for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. Platt’s camp announced formal campaign kickoffs throughout Central Florida toward the end of October.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we have received,” Platt said on Tuesday. “It’s very inspiring when citizens from all walks of life, in all three counties, including Democrats and independents, encourage me to run for Congress and know my record of being a fiscal and socially conservative Republican for many, many years.”
“I believe it is extremely important to mount a grassroots, door-to-door campaign in every neighborhood, and throughout every city and town in the district,” Platt said.
Platt also jabbed Grayson, one of the most vocal liberals on Capitol Hill.
“I am going to be a very different type of member of Congress. I am not going to be bullying anyone or be insensitive toward others,” Platt said. If I am honored to earn enough Republican support in the primary, the differences between Congressman Grayson and I will be plentiful in record, views, substance and style.”
Platt does not have an open shot at the Republican nomination. Also running for the GOP nomination are Navy veteran Jorge Bonilla and community activist Peter Vivaldi, who served on the Orange County Charter Review Commission and ran for Orange County School Board in 2012. Navy veteran Michael McKenna is challenging Grayson in the Democratic primary.
On Tuesday, Platt, whose family has been in the area since the end of the 19th century, played up her roots in the GOP. Platt’s team played up the fact she was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to a community college board of trustees and served as a co-chair for his gubernatorial campaign and his brother George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.
But there are signs that some Republican officeholders are leaning toward Bonilla who they hope can appeal to minority voters in the district. More than 40 percent of voters in the district are Hispanics. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee, is backing Bonilla. So is state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who previously led the Florida Christian Coalition.
Grayson still looms as a heavy favorite to keep his seat in 2014. After winning a Central Florida congressional seat in 2008 by defeating Republican incumbent Ric Keller, he lost to Dan Webster in 2010. After redistricting, Grayson bounced back in 2012 and crushed Republican candidate Todd Long, 63 percent to 37 percent, to return to Washington.
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