Campaign 2010

Jan 21, 2010

Republicans against Alan Grayson Compete to be MVP of Spring Training

As the field of candidates against Representative Alan Grayson appears close to finalizing, Democrats highlighted the Republican Party’s failure to convince any top-tier candidates to enter the race. National and Florida Republican leaders have tried to recruit numerous candidates to challenge Grayson and, time and again, they have decided against running.

 

Republican Recruitment Roster of Failure

 

 

“Washington Republicans keep turning over every stone in central Florida to find a credible candidate for this race and they keep hearing two words: “no thanks.” Having failed to recruit a 1st, 2nd or 3rd tier candidate, Republicans are now promoting every also-ran and never-was that they can find,” said Jesse Ferguson, Southern Regional Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. These are not first stringers, second stringer, third stringers or even minor league, this is the little league.”

 

BACKGROUND

 

  • “Scores of big-name Republicans (from Rich Crotty to Dan Webster) have flapped their gums about challenging Grayson, only to cower when asked to back up their talk with action. Still, a bunch of lesser-known candidates, including several tea partiers, have actually filed papers.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/9/2010]

 

  • “GOPers have long said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is one of the most vulnerable Dems in office, thanks to his penchant for controversial statements. We'd be happy to believe them -- if only they had a candidate actually running against the guy. Instead, the NRCC has watched as candidate after candidate has backed away from challenging Grayson in his Orlando-based district.” [Hotline, 11/26/2009]

 

  • “Few targets in the country are more appealing to Republicans than freshman U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando. […]Yet, on Friday, state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, became the latest experienced politician to pass up a chance to take on Grayson. That has left the party with a half-dozen first-time candidates.” [Orlando Sentinel, 11/16/2009]

 

  • “This leaves Grayson facing challenges from a couple of Tea Partiers and a 28-year-old carpet bagger from South Florida. As I wrote today, the Republicans are scared to death of Grayson. The national pary isn't going to throw any money into this race, not when resources are so limited. Any money that would have gone toward taking Grayson out now will be directed to a more winnable race.” [Orlando Sentinel, 10/13/2009]

 

ANNOUNCED REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

[Orlando Sentinel, 11/16/2009]

“Peg Dunmire, 62, Orlando: A Glenn Beck-Tea Party convert who has yet to show any organization. The self-employed consultant and two supporters gathered 34 petitions to get her name on the ballot at a recent weekend rally.

Dan Fanelli, 53, Windermere: The retired Navy pilot and Tea Party activist scored media time when he announced in the furor after Grayson's comments that the GOP health-care plan was "Don't get sick" or "Die quickly." But there's a lot of competition for tea-partiers -- including better-known Todd Long.

Armando Gutierrez Jr., 28, Orlando: The transplanted South Florida developer has scored a string of mostly second-tier GOP endorsements, but his brash style, recent arrival and inexperience could make him an easy Grayson target. Being Hispanic may hurt him among conservative white voters but could lure Latino Democrats in a general election.

Todd Long, 45, Longwood: The conservative radio host and attorney who lost to Ric Keller last year has campaign experience and name recognition. But two years-old drunken encounters with police -- highlighted by Keller in a mailer last year -- could hurt him if the race turns ugly. He plans to move into the district in January.

Ken Miller, 55, Winter Park: A physician, he initially planned to run in a neighboring district but switched when Dan Webster said he wouldn't run against Grayson. The political rookie aims to carve a niche in the health-care debate by backing tort reform and allowing insurers to compete across state lines.

Patricia Sullivan, 40, Eustis: The stay-at-home mom entered politics last spring when she organized the North Lake Tea Party to oppose the $787 billion government stimulus plan. Sullivan advocates limited government spending and "placing value on life from the womb to the grave."

Kurt Kelly. Kelly is the latest addition to the field of Republican candidates; however, “O'Donoghue appears to have the inside track with the GOP establishment -- largely because he has deep pockets and no political record that Grayson could use against him.”

Prince Brown. Brown ran for Congress in 2004 as a Democrat. [FEC]

 

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