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Alan Grayson Vows a Return

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 12 2011

Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who came to office in 2008 with the support of the online left and whose term was an experiment in the ability of the Internet to keep a candidate viable who does not quite toe the party line, will run again, the Associated Press reports (via the Miami Herald).

Grayson gambled on his online support by playing flamboyantly and directly to the netroots with hard-charging and aggressive politics. He gained prominence during the debate over the future of health care in this country by paraphrasing a Republican plan as advice that sick people "die quickly." And, indeed, he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars online in money bombs and other online fundraising pushes that made nationwide calls for support based on exactly that style. None of this was enough to keep him in office for a second term; Grayson was ousted last November by a Republican, Dan Webster. It seemed that the experiment that was his career — an experiment in mobilizing political will outside the bounds of ward maneuverings and D.C. party politics — had ended.

But Grayson, writes the AP's David Fischer, is counting on the results of this year's redistricting process to redraw some congressional lines around a district where he stands a better chance of winning than he did in 2010. And he seems to be planning on doubling down on nationwide support for his firebrand style:

Grayson said he has no intention of turning it down for his next congressional run. He said he's received support not just from voters in his own region, but from people all over the country.

"People like someone who tells it like it is," Grayson said. "They're hungering for it."

He's resurrected his old campaign site, Congressmanwithguts.com, with a new money bomb — to raise $100,000 by Sept. 30 — and an MSNBC video featuring typically Graysonian, high-flying attacks, this time directed against Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida governor — another forget-the-mainstream politician with a reputation for avoiding encounters with the statewide press — founded a company that conducts drug tests, which becomes interesting because Scott issued and then countermanded an executive order requiring mandatory drug testing for state employees.

"I'm just glad Rick Scott's company doesn't do proctological examinations, because then we'd all have to bend over," goes Grayson's kicker, delivered during a back-and-forth with MSNBC's Cenk Uygur, "and cough."