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Florida: Choice of GOP Insiders Set to Take On Grayson

Insiders on Capitol Hill and in Orlando say that they expect businessman Bruce O’Donoghue (R) to enter the 8th district race against freshman Rep. Alan Grayson (D) and that a campaign announcement is expected in short order.

“Things are progressing, and hopefully Bruce will be getting into the race soon,— O’Donoghue adviser Michael Luethy said Monday.

O’Donoghue has emerged as the top choice of national and state Republican officials after a series of potential top-tier contenders passed on the chance to challenge Grayson, who created a firestorm in September when he suggested on the House floor that the GOP health care plans call for people who get sick to “die quickly.—

But even with the party behind O’Donoghue, the primary is going to be a crowded affair. Among those who have filed are local “tea party— organizer Patricia Sullivan, real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., attorney Todd Long and veteran Dan Fanelli. Long came close to winning the Republican primary last year against then-Rep. Ric Keller, whom Grayson defeated in the general election.

Members to Host HillFundraiser for Edwards

Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen Boyd will headline a Capitol Hill fundraiser Dec. 10 for former state Rep. Lori Edwards, the likely Democratic nominee in the race to replace Rep. Adam Putnam (R), who is running for state agriculture commissioner in 2010.

The evening fundraiser is taking place at the offices of the Eris Group, a boutique lobbying shop.

National Democratic leaders are high on Edwards, who released a poll last week that showed her with a narrow lead over the top Republican candidate, former state Rep. Dennis Ross. But Edwards’ fundraising has been sluggish to date, and Democrats are hoping the event headlined by two of Florida’s leading House Members will boost her campaign treasury.

Putnam’s Central Florida district, which stretches from south of Orlando to the Gulf Coast just south of Tampa, went for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by just 1 point in the 2008 White House election. Putnam, however, always won easily, and Republicans are still favored to hold the seat.

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