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Progressive Dem Alan Grayson Surprises Pundits - Wins Big Last Tuesday in Florida 8th District

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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:45 AM
Original message
Progressive Dem Alan Grayson Surprises Pundits - Wins Big Last Tuesday in Florida 8th District
Edited on Sun Aug-31-08 10:14 AM by ddeclue
(Ed: Fixed links)

ORLANDO FL, Tuesday, August , 2008- Alan Grayson defeated establishment (i.e. Orlando Sentinel/Chamber of Commerce/business community) favorite Charlie Stuart in a primary rematch from 2006 by a whopping margin of 20%+ in a 5 way race with Grayson receiving 48%+ of the vote to Stuart's 28% followed by the other three candidates.

Opposition research into Charlie's campaign during the campaign revealed that he had taken substantial contributions from Republicans (upwards of 50%) and agribusiness interests during his 2008 primary bid.

In contrast, Alan Grayson, a self made multi-millionaire attorney, largely self funded his race so that he could continue to focus on his legal battles against Iraq war profiteers and to avoid being beholden to special interests when elected.

His victory was a dramatic reversal of fortunes from 2006 when establishment favorite Stuart previously won a three way primary defeating the then relatively unknown Alan Grayson and former two term Orange County Commissioner Homer Hartage. In 2006, Charlie Stuart then went on to lose by 7 in a district that only favored Republicans by 3 points and in a year which swept dozens of Republicans out of and dozens of Democrats into Congress.

Last Tuesday's victory was a surprise not only to the local and regional media but even to Washington D.C. "experts" as well who had expected a repeat Stuart victory making the Washington Post political section on Wednesday

Alan Grayson is best known for his lawsuits against Iraq War profiteers like Custer Battles and KBR and has testified before Congress on this subject on numerous occasions. He is a Harvard trained attorney and the former CEO of IDT, a fortune 500 telecom company. He also founded the Alliance for Aging Research.

Alan Grayson wants to get us out of Iraq as soon as humanly possible, wants to see universal health care for all Americans and wants to require businesses to provide traditional pension plans to all workers and annual paid vacations for all workers. Alan is also pro choice.

Florida's 8th Congressional District is currently held by four term Republican incumbent Ric Keller, most notable for his sponsorship of the "cheeseburger protection act" to protect fast food companies from lawsuits by consumers over health effects of fast food.

Ric originally promised to run for no more than 4 terms.

Alan Grayson intends to make sure that Ric at least keeps this one promise on November 4th - but he needs your help to do it.

Republican Ric Keller in turn gave a terribly weak showing against his own primary opponent, Todd Long, whom Keller attacked for a DUI arrest and a tresspass warning from a local mall as irresponsible.

Inspite of all the negative press against the challenger, the 4 term incumbent only managed to win with less than a 6 point margin INSIDE the Republican primary known for loyalty to incumbents and party discipline at election time.

Key to Alan Grayson's success in the Democratic Primary was the use of talented local grassroots Democratic activists from the Central Florida area instead of relying on the usual suspects - Washington D.C. "beltway" consultants.

These local activists had previously worked to flip three of four Florida State House seats throughout 1 regular and 3 special elections from the R to the D column beginning in 2006 with the election of Scott Randolph in Florida House District 36, continuing with Darren Soto's House District 49 race in 2007, continuing with Steven Bacallao's House 34 race (the only loss) in the fall of 2007 and finally with Tony Sasso's House 32 race in late 2007/early 2008 to replace disgraced Republican State Representative Bob Allen who got caught pulling his own version of Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig in a Brevard County public park restroom and far worse than that, used a racist excuse to explain his behavior.

The key to success in these state rep races was door to door campaigning using an intelligently targeted list of voters with repeated personal contact between the canvassers and the voters along with a mail piece program and absentee ballot drive.

In Alan's Congressional race, this was supplemented by a excellent TV ad, additional mail pieces and even more emphasis on signing voters up for absentee ballots and then making sure they voted their absentee ballot early.

With YOUR help, this success can and will be replicated throughout the rest of Florida to take back our state legislature with other worthy candidates like Darius Davis, Lonnie Thompson (of the Florida Consumer Action Network -FCAN) and others as well as our Congressional delegation with candidates like Alan, former State Senator Suzanne Kosmas who is running against Republican lobbyist controlled weasel Tom Feeney, John Russell, and Faye Armitage.

It is important not only that we Democrats hold our gains over the last few years but also that we pick up additional seats in both Washington and Tallahassee.

With all the fervor over Obama - and it is well deserved for a once in a generation candidate - we must not lose sight of the fact that ours is a divided government with powers (theoretically at least) divided between the President, Congress, and Judiciary and with powers further divided between the state and Federal governments.

We must also remember that to win back the White House we must build a solid base of power beginning with local school boards, water boards, and county commissions and city councils, continuing with state legislators and then Congressmen, Governors and Senators. Had a Democrat been governor in Florida in 2000 and had a Democrat been Secretary of State of Florida, Al Gore's ballots would have been counted and George W. Bush would just be the former Governor of Texas.

As Democrats we must regain control of the state legislature here in Florida BEFORE decennial redistricting after the Federal census. Currently this redistricting is scheduled to happen during the 2012 legislative session in Tallahassee.

If we fail to do so, then expect to see all of our gains in the legislature and in our Congressional delegation gerrymandered away as a Republican state legislature uses the sophisticated FREDS software package or the next generation of it to custom draw legislative districts to guarantee Republican victories in 2014, 2016 and beyond.

Alan, and these other candidates in Florida all need and deserve your support.

Please do what you can to help out Florida Democrats DU'ers!

Thanks,

Doug De Clue
Democratic Activist
Orlando, FL

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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/community/news/conway/or...

Election roundup: U.S. House
Keller will face surprise Democratic winner Grayson in November

Mark Schlueb | Sentinel Staff Writer
August 27, 2008

Grayson Wins Democratic Primary for Congressional Seat

Democratic candidate for U.S. House District 8 Alan Grayson embraces his wife, Lolita, after his upset win over challenger Charlie Stuart, at Grayson's Colonial Drive headquarters Tuesday night, Aug. 26.
read more about Tuesday's primary elections
(JOE BURBANK, ORLANDO SENTINEL)

U.S. Rep. Ric Keller barely held off a lesser-known and mostly self-funded opponent in the Republican primary Tuesday, raising questions about whether the four-term incumbent could survive his Democratic challenger in November.

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson, who poured more than $1.2 million of his own money into the race, trounced Charlie Stuart to win the Democratic primary in what had been expected to be a close race.

Those wins set up a general election battle between Keller and Grayson, candidates with wildly different political ideas. And Keller's relatively tight primary victory over Todd Long could make him appear vulnerable, prompting both political parties to funnel money into the race.

Their race was the highlight of a low-turnout series of primaries that saw fewer than 20 percent of Central Floridians go to the polls. A lack of statewide races, and the aftereffects of Tropical Storm Fay, kept turnout statewide to 16.5 percent, a record low.

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. This may be potentially wonderful news.
I don't know for sure, because, everyone seems to have their friends in Florida.
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. obama needs to hire this guys ad people - they are great ads
anyone who hears the ads can't help but vote for this guy -
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efhmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
3. Seems like a real Democratic candidate. Good luck to him.
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efhmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
4. This needs to be read by all. I recommended it.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Thanks n/t
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peace frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
5. A progressive elected in Central Florida????
The mind boggles. When I moved from there three years ago, you wouldn't know Democrats even existed in the area. Well, heartiest congratulations to Mr. Grayson and may his success be the start of a badly-needed trend.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. He's not elected YET but he CAN be with your help!
We have been working to run the Republicans out of town since 2004 and have already flipped 3 state house seats since 2006. We believe that we have a real chance to flip this Congressional seat too with progressive help from people like the crowd at DU!

Orange County Florida which constitutes 71% of the district is rapidly changing and growing. Over 50% of the currently registered voters there were NOT registered to vote in the infamous 2000 Presidential election.

Moreover registration has swung dramatically into the D column in Orange County Florida through the work of third party progressive groups like ACORN, Move-On, and LCV.

The party itself has used a continuous stream of special elections at the state house level in 2007 and 2008 to sharpen up a real top notch local campaign team that knows how to run and win races in Central Floria and the vast majority of these chose to work for the Grayson campaign this year.

Doug D.
Orlando, FL
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peace frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks
Best of luck to Mr. Grayson - never thought I'd live long enough to see Central Florida turn blue. Hope it comes to pass.
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a la izquierda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
6. K & R, Good luck Mr. Grayson
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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
7. I saw a bunch of his ads on the local Orlando stations
during the Olympics (normally I don't watch that much TV). They were very very effective on the issue of Iraq war profiteering. I was very impressed.
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FLAprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-31-08 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
11. Good to see a real progressive beat someone in the Blue Dog/DLC mold.
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