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Florida Rep. Grayson to enter race for Sen. Rubio’s seat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, an unapologetically outspoken critic of Republicans who calls himself a congressman with guts, will enter the race to replace Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a close friend and major Democratic Party donor said Wednesday.

Trial lawyer John Morgan said he exchanged a series of emails with Grayson in which the congressman confirmed he is going to seek the seat Rubio is giving up to run for president and asked for Morgan’s help with the campaign. The announcement will be made Thursday morning.

“He’s going to do it,” Morgan said.

His entry into the race will set up a primary pitting a darling of the far left wing of the Democratic Party against lesser-known U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a former Republican who is running as a moderate.

While many Democratic leaders fear Grayson is too divisive to win a general election, he has built a national support base through his blunt assessment of the Republican Party and the tea party movement.

Grayson, 57, is known for using fiery rhetoric to knock down opponents. He made headlines for describing the GOP health plan as “don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.” He called a Republic opponent “Taliban Dan” in an effort to paint him as a religious extremist for his conservative Christian beliefs and compared the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan.

He’s also been involved in a messy divorce that has created unflattering headlines, and recently critics have raised ethical questions about three hedge funds he created.

Morgan said he encouraged Grayson not to run, both during a lunch several weeks ago and in their email exchanges. He said Grayson replied that he needed help, not advice.

“Alan Grayson right now has a great position in America,” Morgan said. “I told him he’s in a unique positon. He is in a safe district, he has a national voice and he serves a lot of good for the progressive cause and he’s unelectable statewide.”

Grayson was first elected in 2008, then lost his seat to current U.S. Rep. Dan Webster. Grayson returned to Congress two years later running in a new, safely Democratic district.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has announced he is running, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller are considering runs.

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