Another GOP businessman jumps in to take on Grayson

April 5, 2010

The pack of Republicans vying to topple firebrand U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson will grow again this week.

Republican Ross Bieling plans to formally announce his candidacy to take on Grayson, D-Orlando, and the owner of Select Medical Products Inc., a medical parts supplier, could tap into his own personal resources to get the campaign rolling, spokesman Adam Goldman said.

Bieling’s political experience stems from his time on the Sanford Housing Authority, where he was a board member critical of the deplorable living conditions at its properties, and other mismanagement and spending irregularities.

For Republicans, his entry is a mixed blessing. The crowded field means a more-robust competition to find the best candidate to take on Grayson, but it also could mean more blood-letting, and extra campaign spending that can’t be aimed specifically at Grayson.

Former District 8 GOP candidate and attorney Todd Long is thought to enjoy the best name-recognition in the race, due to his radio show, business ads and publicity from his failed run in 2008. Winter Park traffic signal company owner Bruce O’Donoghue is regarded as the favorite of Washington Republicans, and has indicated he was able to raise more than $300,000 in his first fund-raising effort to start 2010.

However,  state Rep. Kurt Kelly, R-Ocala, could prove a formidable fund raiser since he has Tallahassee connections and backing in Florida’s business community. In addition, there are eight other lesser-known candidates, some with aggressive efforts afoot within the local Tea Party movement. Now enter Bieling.

“The more the merrier,” said Andy Sere, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Bieling seized on the recent debate over a Lake County urologist who urged potential patients in a sign on his door to feel free to go elsewhere for care if they voted for President Obama. Grayson has blasted the doctor, and said he’s violating his oath to heal patients, and could end up disproportionately singling out African-Americans by shooing away Obama supporters. “It’s a clear violation of ethics,” Grayson told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

In a press release, Bieling challenged Grayson’s take on the issue, and called it “race-baiting.”

“A clear pattern of lies, conceit, and contempt for the people he intends to represent has emerged,” Bieling said in his release. “Grayson lacks the professionalism, dignity, and respect for the people he is charged with serving. It is a void I shall seek to fill.”
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