By Tom Tillison
The race to replace U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in Florida’s CD9 is shaping up, and rumors are already beginning to fly in what is expected to be a highly contested Democratic primary.
Amid an impressive turnout of supporters, to include a number of local elected officials, state Sen. Darren Soto announced Thursday his decision to enter the race. He will join former state representative Ricardo Rangel, one-time ACORN activist Susannah Randolph and Valleri Crabtree in an increasingly crowded field.
As for rumors, a well-connected local source let slip that some believe Rangel is in the race solely to bleed Hispanic votes away from Soto, for the benefit of Randolph.
Rumors are commonplace in such a spirited race, and are easily dismissed — especially this early.
I gave the tip little thought until I saw a virulently anti-Soto blog Thursday from an ACORN activist at Organize Now who is closely aligned with Randolph. In the blog, Rangel was named along with Randolph as “excellent progressive voices.”
And that’s when the bells went off.
I was drawn back to the 2010 congressional race between Randolph’s current boss, the dastardly Alan Grayson, and Republican Daniel Webster — a race I was intimately engaged in.
Suddenly, I recalled that Grayson allegedly paid a local political gadfly that I choose not to name to prop up a faux-tea party candidate to split the conservative vote — their dog of a candidate, Peg Dunmire, drew less than 4 percent of the vote in a Webster landslide, never to be heard from again.
Grayson and Dunmire repeatedly denied any collusion.
But former WKMG reporter Tony Pipitone was all over financial connections uncovered between Grayson and the new political party, as well as the unnamed gadfly.
And you’ll never guess who Grayson’s campaign manager was in 2010?
Actually, if you’ve been paying any attention, you’ll guess easily — Susannah Randolph… not that we are implying guilt on the part of anyone.
On a side note, today’s sign that the apocalypse may be upon us comes from Rita Bornstein, the former president of Rollins College.
“We can count on [Susannah Randolph] to promote bipartisanship in conducting the people’s business,” Bornstein is quoted in a fundraising email sent out by the Randolph campaign.
That’s quite an assertion to make about an indisputable hard-left social justice progressive like Randolph, which means the former educator is either a) grossly misinformed, or b) blatantly “misspoke.”