The National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare on Thursday endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto for re-election in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

“You are a key ally in the effort to serve the needs of seniors and their families. You appreciate that Social Security benefits are modest, on average only $15,456 annually and even lower for women who most often have their working careers interrupted for family caregiving,” committee president Max Richtman said in an endorsement letter.

Richtman later wrote, “There is no membership in the nation more aware or active politically than the men and women who proudly are associated with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. National Committee members know they can continue to count on you in the United States House of Representatives!”

Soto is currently in his first term representing CD 9, which covers south-central Orange County, Osceola County and eastern Polk County. He faces former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in what’s shaping up to be a contentious Democratic primary.

From day one, Soto has had to fend off attacks from the “congressman with guts” who has attempted to paint him as an “entirely ineffective” lawmaker while touting himself as a “progressive warrior” and an effective legislator during his three terms in Congress.

Soto has castigated Grayson as a “bully” for his brash and often acerbic style — Grayson, after all, is the Congressman who made a name for himself by saying the Republican health care plan was “Don’t get sick,” and if you do, “die quickly.”

Many groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood, have opted to back Soto over Grayson in the primary race, though Grayson this week landed an endorsement from Our Revolution Orlando, a local chapter of Our Revolution, a national group that traces its roots to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign operation.

Grayson and Soto have agreed to two debates, the first on Aug. 2 and the second on Aug. 8. The primary election is Aug. 28.

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