Florida Rep. Alan Grayson likes to portray himself as a fighter, but after getting in an altercation with a Politico reporter, he’s in the fight for his political life.
We thought Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was having a terrible week — Wikileaks published hacked DNC emails, she was forced to resign as DNC chair, booed by her home state delegation at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, and the DCCC won’t help her against her primary challenger — but Grayson is now giving her a serious run for the money to be the Florida Democrat having the worst week ever.
Grayson is locked in a bitter primary for the Democratic nomination for Florida’s Senate seat with fellow Rep. Patrick Murphy. Most of the Democratic establishment has lined up behind Murphy, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and a number of prominent progressive groups have thrown their support behind Grayson. Well, make that “had thrown” their support: he just lost two major endorsements.
The trouble started with a Politico article published Tuesday morning describing two decades of domestic abuse claims by Grayson’s ex-wife, Lolita Grayson:
Rep. Alan Grayson’s ex-wife repeatedly went to police with accusations of domestic abuse over a two-decade period, according to documents she has provided to POLITICO, revelations that come as the Florida congressman enters the final weeks of his Democratic primary campaign for Senate.
Lolita Grayson called police on her husband at least two times in Virginia and two more times in Florida, sought medical attention on at least two occasions and said that, in one instance, he had threatened to kill her, according to a police report.
Grayson, through his attorney, vehemently denied the allegations, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, two of the groups that had endorsed him. In a joint statement on Tuesday, they announced they were withdrawing their endorsements for the first time in either organization’s history and called on Grayson to donate all funds donated to his Senate campaign to a charity that helps domestic abuse victims.
“After today’s revelations of years of police reports about allegations of domestic abuse involving Alan Grayson, we are no longer willing to support and are formally withdrawing our endorsement of him in the race for U.S. Senate.
“Unfortunately, this deeply disappointing revelation means progressives have no great options in the Florida race for Senate.” — Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, DFA; Stephanie Taylor, Co-Founder, PCCC; Adam Green, Co-Founder, PCCC
Later on Tuesday, Grayson attended an event hosted by Politico at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. As he was heading out, Politico reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere approached him to ask him about his ex-wife’s allegations.
Another Politico reporter videotaped the exchange, where the Congressman is shown visibly agitated by Dovere’s questions as he makes his way to the elevator. He appears to push Dovere aside but then accuses Dovere of assaulting him.
“You’re getting in my way, my friend. You’re assaulting a member of Congress. You’re pushing me. Have this guy escorted out, please,” Grayson said.
“You’re a member of Congress. You’re a public official,” responded Dovere, pointing out the irony of Grayson coming to a Politico event but then trying to dodge media questions.
Grayson again refused to answer the questions and said that he hoped that Dovere got arrested.
Free advice for Congressman Grayson from The Capitolist: if you go to a party hosted by the very same media outlet that just published a critical article about you, you should anticipate a question or two.
The Florida primary is August 30.
Photo credit: Donkey Hotey via Flickr.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.