Outspoken Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is leaving behind his House seat to run for one in the Senate, and his girlfriend reportedly is eyeing his old job.
Ninth District Rep. Alan Grayson and Dr. Dena Minning have been dating for months, according to reports in Politico, the Orlando Sentinel and elsewhere. Shortly after Grayson announced his 2016 Senate bid a month ago, Minning filed paperwork with the FEC to run for his House seat.
The development adds one more wrinkle to Grayson’s campaign storyline. Grayson, perhaps best known as the congressman who accused anti-ObamaCare Republicans of wanting people to "die quickly," is running for GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio’s old seat. His girlfriend’s run, however, is shining the light on his personal life, including a divorce in April.
For 18 months, Grayson and his former wife of 25 years engaged in a fiery divorce process that included public name calling. The divorce also generated reports that his wife and five children relied on food stamps, despite his average net worth of over $64 million, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics. Those figures make him the 13th richest member of Congress in 2015. He is a Harvard Law School graduate.
Minning’s campaign has been quiet so far, and only emphasized her interest and career in health care. She is a medical doctor and biochemist, with previous roles at The Aspen Institute, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and MedExpert Consulting, Inc., which she founded. She has no political experience in Florida.
Neither she nor Grayson could be reached for comment.
Grayson, who lost his seat in 2010 and returned to Congress in 2013, is well-known for his slams against Republicans. In 2009, he said the Republicans’ motto on health care overhaul was “Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly.” Other comments include calling Newt Gingrich “A dumb person’s idea of what a smart person looks like,” naming his 2010 GOP opponent Daniel Webster “Taliban Dan,” and comparing the Tea Party to the KKK.
Minning is running against three state and local officials. None of them have commented on her ties to Grayson. Grayson has reportedly not clarified if he will endorse Minning for the position.