Former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible presidential candidate in 2020, took sides in one of the most competitive Democratic congressional primaries in the Sunshine State.
On Tuesday, Biden endorsed U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., for a second term in Congress over former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. In 2016, Grayson ran for the U.S. Senate but was routed in the Democratic primary by then U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., while Soto defeated a field of candidates--including his current rival’s wife Dena Grayson--to win the open seat.
"Darren Soto is a highly effective legislator who keeps his head down, works hard, and delivers for his constituents. Central Floridians couldn't have a better person representing them in Congress,” Biden said in his endorsement. “Darren helped President Obama and I get elected twice and now he is working to protect the progress we made and help build upon it. We need Darren in Congress to keep our kids safe from guns; defend Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare; protect our environment; and fight for our values.
“Darren grew up in a neighborhood like I did, where a job was about a lot more than a paycheck,” Biden added. “He knows that to have a strong economy we must strengthen and grow the middle class and that is why I am a proud to support Darren Soto, a proven progressive, for re-election."
For his part, insisting he was “thrilled and humbled” by the former vice president’s support, Soto welcomed the news as Biden joined every Democrat in the Florida congressional delegation in backing him over Grayson.
“I am grateful not just for his endorsement, but for why he endorsed -- because we here in Central Florida are carrying the torch he and President Obama held so high in the White House. We're fighting for progressive values,” Soto insisted.
Financial advisor and veteran Sean Buchan and engineer and veteran Wayne Liebnitzky are running in the Republican primary but whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be a heavy favorite in this solidly blue district.
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