The Democratic Primary in Congressional District 10 has been among the most fascinating to watch in the state. That primary, which has been substantially impacted by Governor Ron DeSantis unprecedented foray into the redistricting process, has several well-known candidates. Ten candidates, in all are seeking the Democratic nomination in a district that’s heavily blue.
Much of the institutional support has rallied around Senator Randolph Bracy. However, his voting record in Tallahassee and strong support from the sugar industry bothers us.
Natalie Jackson is an interesting candidate, a great community asset, and one we’d normally strongly consider supporting. But there is a better choice.
Central Florida has become the epicenter of a great progressive movement, highlighted by State Reps. Anna Eskamani and Carlos Smith. Both have endorsed a first-time candidate, Maxwell Alejandro Frost. They have been joined by the likes of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Frost, who is just 25, is so impressive that The Orlando Sentinel, which typically endorses institutionalists and moderates is backing his candidacy on its editorial pages.
Frost is a potential national star – he played a role in the March for Our Lives, he’s an organizer, and a fighter for youth and working families, Maxwell Frost will usher in the next generation of leadership and have an instrumental impact in Congress. He has inspired activists all over the country to get behind his candidacy while possibly serving as a torch bearer for a new generation of leaders.
Whether it be criminal justice, climate justice, Medicare for All, or ending gun violence, Frost shows a remarkable grasp of the issues and the values of the progressive movement. Frost has also directly confronted Governor DeSantis, whom we consider the greatest threat to democracy this nation has seen in its modern history. He has earned our endorsement. We’re disappointed with his recent negative ads, but given the situation in this race, perhaps it can be excused. Frost has countless legitimate endorsements, while he has multiple opponents who are being deliberately misleading about their own endorsements, which is technically legal, but very questionable ethically from where we sit.
However, we’re not done talking about the candidates in this race…
Two former members of Congress are running in this seat – the disgraced Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson. Brown cannot be considered a serious candidate, but could serve to siphon votes away from the serious ones which is our concern in this matter.
Moving on to Alan Grayson – Progressive politics in Florida has moved on from Grayson, but like the old soldier who claims everyone is out of step except him, he won’t let go. Grayson has been slammed for all sorts of things, some of which may be very valid, but we don’t choose to focus on all that. We do however, have serious concerns about his attitude toward American foreign policy at a time where liberal democracy and the values it represents are under attack. Grayson in 2014, voted against critical US aid to Ukraine AFTER Crimea was invaded. He was one of just two Democrats in either chamber to cast such a vote. He also voted against sanctioning Russian officials.
Additionally, Grayson has advocated repealing or lowering gas taxes which would do more damage than good at this point in time. Grayson is rightly making an issue about toll roads in Central Florida, something we wholeheartedly agree with him on, but his claims that I-4 cannot be tolled because it is a “federal highway,” are incorrect. Florida has historically had a policy regarding toll roads not carrying interstate designations (hence the Central Florida Greenway isn’t I-404, First Coast Expressway isn’t I-310 and the Sawgrass Expressway isn’t I-675), but I-4 also carries a state road designation, while only certain lanes are tolled. Also of note many many interstate highways in other states are tolled, for example Interstate 80 in Ohio and Interstate 95 in Maine.
Grayson also had a history of investing heavily in the oil and gas sector per his public disclosure forms while a member of the US House. At one point this included an investment, in Russian firm Lukoil, who is that nation’s second largest privately-held company. Of course, Grayson’s investment in Russian firms pales in comparison to hundreds of millions invested by the GOP-led State of Florida’s FRS, but that is a topic for another day, and one we hope the Democratic nominee for Governor picks up on.
That brings us back to Bracy, who in 2022 was one of just a handful of Democrats who voted for FPL’s net metering legislation which attacked solar. Thankfully, Governor DeSantis vetoed this legislation. Bracy’s alliance with business interests stands in stark contrast to Frost’s vibe and his connection to the growing progressive movement not only in Central Florida, but around the state. Bracy’s election to Congress would put a potentially questionable vote on a number of issues in the House representing a heavily Democratic seat. However, we must say Bracy has been very good for the Central Florida community working extensively on important local project and historical preservation.
Nonetheless, It’s very clear that Frost is the the exceptional choice in this crowded contest.