The Democrat had been running against Demings for Senate but has decided to drop his bid, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement in people’s lives,” Grayson said in a statement. “We are fighting inflation to the death. I want lower taxes, lower tolls, and lower rent, and all those things can be accomplished. I have a record of getting good things done.”
Grayson has had a roller-coaster career in politics. After losing the Democratic primary for Florida’s 8th Congressional District in 2006, he mounted a successful bid for the same seat in 2008. He spent one term in Congress before losing handily to Republican Daniel Webster in 2010. The absence proved short-lived, though, as Grayson won in Florida’s newly created 9th District in 2012, a seat he held for two terms. His tenure in Congress ended after a failed run for Senate in 2016.
Grayson, a liberal firebrand who memorably quipped that Republicans’ healthcare plan boiled down to “die quickly,” attracted controversy as a member of Congress. His decision to manage a hedge fund while serving in the House led the Ethics Committee to open an investigation, and Grayson faced allegations of domestic abuse over reports that his ex-wife repeatedly called the police on him across 25 years of marriage. He denies the allegations.
Grayson, who entered the 10th District race days before the qualifying deadline, will compete in a crowded Democratic primary on Aug. 23. The Orlando-area seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands come November.
The district, one of two in Florida represented by black members of Congress, was the subject of controversy after Ron DeSantis redrew it to include fewer African American voters, with the Florida governor arguing the seats had been racially gerrymandered. The new map has been challenged in court, though it, in all likelihood, will remain in place for the midterm elections.