With one year to go, the field of challengers to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is becoming a crowded place. Seven Republicans have filed paperwork with the FEC, and a handful more have reportedly been meeting with the NRCC as national Republicans try to vet a competitive candidate.
Grayson, of “die quickly” and “K Street whore” fame, is a juicy target for Republicans, especially the relatively unknown who can make his comments an issue. Cue real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., who has based his entire early campaign around defeating Grayson.All of those in the race, including two tea partiers and a doctor who switched districts to challenge Grayson, are making the freshman Democrats’ remarks an issue. But Gutierrez is the only one to focus his campaign web site largely around Grayson. Even his “issues” page mentions Grayson seven times.
He’s also created an ancillary web site called StopGrayson.com. And the press release announcing Gutierrez’s run is titled “It’s Grayson’s political career that will ‘die quickly.'” A later release jumps on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) comment that Grayson is “one fry short of a Happy Meal.”
Gutierrez moved to the Central Florida district recently, registering to vote in Orlando in September. He hasn’t reported any money raised yet, but has already been gathering the endorsements of several local Republicans, including George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son.
But attacking Grayson may not be enough. Last week, when an NRCC vetting team met with two local GOP-ers (who’ve not yet declared whether they’ll run), they didn’t ask Gutierrez for a meeting, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
“We want somebody who is familiar with Orlando and what’s going on in Orange County,” said U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), who is helping vet potential candidates, according to the Sentinel.
Other candidates include two tea partiers, Dan Fannelli and Patricia Sullivan, and Ken Miller, a doctor who was originally running in a neighboring district.
The GOP’s favorite appears to be Bruce O’Donoghue, a local business owner. He has not definitively announced a run, saying, “We just need to be under the shield of God. … If that’s the call, we’ll be obedient to that.”
The field opened up after several more prominent Republicans declined to run in what promises to be an incendiary race.