While no one with a big name is stepping forward yet, three candidates have recently filed and a fourth is talking about it, to take on U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, in Congressional District 9.
The district, which brought the firebrand-liberal Grayson back to Congress in 2012 after he won in another district in 2008, then lost re-election there in 2010, is solidly Democratic but has a strong Hispanic base.
None of the filed candidates, Democrat Michael Patrick McKenna, and Republicans Jorge L. Bonilla Jr. and Carol Platt, has a record in Central Florida politics.
The latest to step forward for the 2014 election, Peter Vivalde, announced today he has formed an exploratory committee and will be declaring his intentions at a rally next week. Vivalde, 52, a consultant, has some local track record, having served on the Orange County Charter Review Commission and been active in other local organizations such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.
Grayson is a formidable incumbent with a national reputation and big-money fundraising structure. His district, which covers much of east Orlando and East Orlando and all of Osceola County, has a very large Hispanic, predominantly Puerto Rican, voter base, meaning he could prove vulnerable to a Hispanic candidate.
But on the Republican side, registrations favor non-Hispanic whites 9-to-1 over Hispanics. That's a major reason why attorney Todd Long won the GOP nomination in 2012 over a better-known Hispanic politician, Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones.
Vivalde is quick to establish his Puerto Rican cred (he was born in New York of Puerto Rican parents, then grew up mostly in Orlando): his rally will be held at Orlando's Puerto Rican social center, Asociacion Borinquena De Florida Central, next Wednesday.