Liberal firebrand Alan Grayson’s bid for his old seat, Congressional District 9, received national media attention on Tuesday.
In a Mark I. Pinsky primary-day feature for POLITICO Magazine, Grayson’s attempt to unseat incumbent Democrat Darren Soto is spelled out as a “last stand.”
The party’s evolution has seen an embrace of what were once considered “out-there” ideas, Pinsky notes. Among them: wholesale expansions to Medicare, reproductive rights, minimum wage, LGBTQ rights, community college tuition, gun control and immigration reform.
Once championed by members like Grayson — and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders — the ideas are almost cemented givens for Democratic hopefuls and those looking to retain their seats in Congress.
The golden question, per Pinksy: “Now that the party has embraced most of his formerly out-there ideas, do Democrats need incendiaries like Alan Grayson anymore?”
Grayson’s hoping for the affirmative.
Both campaigns went low in the months leading up to Tuesday. Grayson, as expected, hit Soto on his former actions as a state legislator that contrast with his current necessary political ideologies.
“In the course of his 10-year Florida Legislature stint, he supported the state’s notorious NRA-drafted ‘Stand Your Ground’ law and another law, ‘Docs vs. Glocks,’ that tried to prevent family physicians from asking patients about the presence of firearms in their homes,” writes Pinsky. “For this, the Florida NRA endorsed him with an “A” rating, during his tenure in Tallahassee up until 2015. While in the state Legislature, he also supported a law that would equate abortion with murder.”
He adds: “Now, facing the base voters who dominate Democratic primaries, Soto says his positions have ‘evolved’ since his time in Tallahassee.”
The establishment that once supported Grayson now supports his incumbent opponent. Soto, according to some polls, is favorable to Hispanics. But Grayson has won the hearts of union interests and is battle-tested in the district.
Whatever the outcome, it’s not the end game for Grayson, notes Pinsky. But should he win, he believes the immediate effect will be “helping people in their lives.”