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Florida: Big Win for Alan Grayson in Tonight’s GOP Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sunshine State voters chose their nominees for the House today. And although former Rep. Alan Grayson didn’t have a primary opponent in the 9th district, the Democratic nominee for the Orlando-area seat came away a winner.

The outspoken former Congressmen and his Democratic allies have worked hard and spent good money to ensure he faces an opponent other than Osceola County Commissioner John “Q” Quinones, who would have been the strongest GOP candidate in the Democratic-leaning district. Their work paid off.

Attorney Todd Long won tonight’s GOP primary. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Long had 47 percent of the vote to Quinones’ 28 percent, the Associated Press reported.

Long is not seen as viable GOP candidate for the district. And unless Grayson, known nationally for his hyperbole, self-destructs, he’s probably coming back to Congress. He would have been favored no matter who the nominee was, but now he has a clearer path to joining the 113th Congress.

Meanwhile, voters in two open and comfortably Republican districts — the northeastern coastal 6th district and the Cape Coral-anchored 19th on the Gulf of Mexico — chose nominees who are almost certain to be coming to take the oath on Capitol Hill next January.

Ron DeSantis, a retired Navy JAG officer, current Navy reservist and newcomer to politics, easily dispatched six primary opponents in the 6th. An impressive fundraiser who racked up a series of potent conservative endorsements during the primary easily beat Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller, Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark and state Rep. Fred Costello, among others. With 77 percent of precincts reporting, DeSantis had 40 percent of the vote. The runner-up was Costello, with 22 percent of the vote, the AP reported. Deeply conservative, DeSantis is likely to be an up-and-comer when he reaches the halls of Congress.

In the 19th district, left open by the Senate run of Mack, radio talk-show host Trey Radel won over former Capitol Hill aide Chauncey Goss and state Rep. Paige Kreegel. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Radel had 30 percent to Goss’ 22 percent and Kreegel’s 18 percent, according to the AP.

And in freshman Republican Rep. Steve Southerland’s Panhandle 2nd district, national Democrats’ favored candidate, state Rep. Leonard Bembry, was pummeled by former state Sen. Al Lawson. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Lawson had 55 percent of the vote to Bembry’s 26 percent. Lawson’s win appears to take the seat out of play for Democrats in November.

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