Dena Minning, a biotechnology entrepreneur with romantic ties to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, filed paperwork last week to replace the Orlando Democrat in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.
Minning’s entry in the race is certain to ramp up what could be one of the country’s most dramatic primaries.
Wednesday, she reached out to supporters with her vision for the district that consists of parts of Orange and Osceola counties.
In an new email to supporters, Minning says: “The reason I am running for Congress is to help you, the People. As a doctor, I have healed many people. In Congress, I can help to heal our country. I will work tirelessly to ensure that you can keep your health, love and be loved, and achieve your dreams throughout a long, good life.”
She also pledges to raise the minimum wage, protect Social Security and push for immigration reform. It’s a similar platform to the one Grayson promotes in his own Democratic primary bid for U.S. Senate to replace Marco Rubio.
Despite their history, the firebrand incumbent announced he will not be endorsing anyone at this time. In the past, Grayson told interviewers he believes the seat belongs to the people.
One reason could be that Grayson has close ties with the other established progressive candidates in this race.
Susannah Randolph was Grayson’s district director and one of his most loyal allies in previous years. State Sen. Darren Soto, another newly announced CD 9 candidate, received a citizenship award from Grayson last year. Former State Reps. Ricardo Rangel and Valleri Crabtree have also filed for the Democratic primary.
On the Republican side, Wayne Liebnitzsky has already entered the race, with Kissimmee Vice Mayor Wanda Renatas announcing she will also be running. In addition, State Rep. Mike La Rosa from St. Cloud has been teasing a possible candidacy.