Senate Candidate Alan Grayson Officially Endorses Bernie Sanders, but Many See It as a Stunt
Rep. Alan Grayson
After putting his superdelegate vote up for an online vote, Democratic congressman and Senate candidate Alan Grayson announced today that Bernie Sanders won the online poll in such a landslide that he's decided to officially endorse him.
Sanders' diehard supporters are usually ecstatic when a sitting Democrati breaks with the establishment to support their guy. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's announcement that she was stepping down as vice chair of the Democratic National Convention to support Sanders was heralded by the campaign.
In comparison, Grayson's endorsement has been met with mixed reaction, with many observers seeing it as a bit of a drawn-out stunt.
"I hereby endorse Bernie Sanders to be our Democratic nominee for President of the United States," Grayson wrote. "I will vote for him as a Super-delegate at the Democratic National Convention. And I enthusiastically join, shoulder to shoulder, his political revolution."
Grayson revealed that Sanders won the online poll by a margin of 86-14. That shouldn't be a surprise. Sanders supporters have a habit of making sure their candidate wins any open online polls. There was little doubt that Sanders would win this one.
On the enormously popular SandersForPresident forum on Reddit, Sanders supporters welcomed the endorsement but questioned Grayson's tactics.
"I'm still glad he has endorsed Bernie, but this is the most shameless self-promotion of an endorsement of all time, lol," one user wrote.
"Reddit's lackluster response to this endorsement, combined with yesterday's warm welcoming [of] Tulsi Gabbard... shows me that this movement remains authentic," commented another. "This vote was a lousy stunt, and he should have endorsed Bernie to begin with."
"Bernie needs some surrogates that can go and kick some pundit-ass for him," wrote a more positive commenter. "Alan Grayson is a little bit slimy, but he is a good ass kicker."
However, in reaction to the news, many said they'd donate to Grayson's campaign.
Photo via Bernie Sanders' Campaign
In many regards, Grayson's quest for the Senate nomination is quite similar to Sanders' campaign. The establishment has unified behind moderate Rep. Patrick Murphy. Grayson, with a history of funding his campaigns with small donors, introducing tons of amendments, posting a strong progressive voting record, and supporting the netroots, is trying to pull off an upset from the left.
Grayson sits on Hillary Clinton's Florida Leadership Council but claimed that wasn't an official endorsement.
More than 400,000 people voted in the online poll, according to Grayson's release, but all of them had to sign up with an email address. That means Grayson will now send them all fundraising pitches and campaign updates.
In a way, the online superdelegate poll was a savvy move, but many observers saw it for what it was.
Many were also wary of multimillionaire Grayson's potentially shady business practices. He manages a hedge fund that until recently had an outlet in the Cayman Islands. The House Ethics Committee is reviewing Grayson's business practices while in office, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called on Grayson to drop out of the race in favor of former Republican Murphy.
It remains to be seen how the endorsement will play out with Florida's Democratic voters. According to the latest poll from the University of North Florida, Clinton has a 30-point lead over Sanders in the state.