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Politics

Alan Grayson Senate Bid a Poison Pill for Democrats Come 2016

February 4, 2015 - 6:00pm

Alan Grayson is starting to throw his name around as a possible candidate for the Senate in 2016 -- and thats bad news for Democrats.

Grayson is a darling of liberals across the country and he relies on a national fundraising base. The Florida congressman also brings his own sizable personal fortune to the table. Money wont be an issue if Grayson embarks on a Senate bid, even if Marco Rubio decides to run for a second term.

But Graysons acerbic style, insults toward conservatives and endless procession of snide remarks about Republicans often get him in trouble and can turn off moderates and independents. That certainly proved to be the case in 2010 where Grayson was demolished by Republican Dan Webster. After Grayson ran insulting ads claiming Websters evangelical faith was anti-women, voters turned against the Democrat despite having elected him two years before. Webster went on to crush Grayson 56 percent to 38 percent on Election Day.

True Grayson bounced back in 2012 but that was for a gerrymandered seat which is very secure for the Democrats. His controversial style might not harm his efforts to stay where he is but, if Grayson seeks a Senate seat, it will come back to haunt him.

Grayson could actually hurt his party if he ends up as its Senate candidate in 2016. Democrats need Florida to hold onto the White House and Grayson wont help them. Charlie Crist went down in November because Democrats in South Florida -- namely Miami-Dade and Broward County -- stayed home. Granted, Grayson has far deeper ties to the party than Crist but he wont help Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democrats nominate in South Florida.

There are some Democrats who might help their presidential ticket more in that key area. Ted Deutchs and Patrick Murphys names are being kicked around. So is that of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Grayson has said he might not run if she enters the race. None of them would be a favorite against Rubio but they would do far less damage to the Democratic presidential ticket in Florida than Grayson would.

Personal issues could also hurt Grayson. The congressman is currently engaged in a nasty divorce battle and hes even hurled bigamy allegations against Lolita Grayson. Add into the equation, a spat over a domestic dispute charge from last year which Grayson successfully turned back -- but it will return if he seeks a Senate seat. Also add into the mix his estranged wife and their children looking to get on food stamps despite Grayson being one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

That should be enough for Democrats to want to avoid Grayson like the plague in 2016 even if Rubio decides he would rather run for president instead of a second term. Grayson might be able to finance his own campaign and rely on his national network of liberal donors but he could do serious damage to Democrats in a state they need if they want to hold onto the White House.


Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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