In 2008, freshman Democrat Alan Grayson self-financed his race and won Florida's independent-leaning eighth district. Set along the famed I-4 corridor in Florida, this district has a history of deciding statewide elections because its voters have been fed up with George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and with scandals, both personal and political, surrounding the GOP. In 2008, they also turned out to vote for Obama and helped him carry the state.
When Grayson ran, he was anti-Bush and anti-war (he had a bumper sticker on his car that read, "Bush Lied, People Died"). And incumbent Ric Keller represented all that voters did not like about Republicans, especially the fact that he left his wife to marry a younger woman.
Though the political climate has changed drastically in two years, Grayson continues to stick by his principles and is to conservatives what Michele Bachmann is to liberals. He's called Dick Cheney a "vampire" and told him to "STFU." He said the GOP's health care plan, if they even have one, would be for sick people to "die quickly." He's endeared himself to liberals and to MSNBC hosts and viewers and has fiercely backed President Obama's agenda.
His beliefs are genuine. He's not a phony. He's pugnacious. At least that is what his supporters say they like about him, and that is why he's the type of candidate that some liberal activists, particularly those from the Netroots, wish there were more of. If Grayson gets re-elected in this climate, more of such candidates may push Democrats further to the left.