Richard Grayson

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This profile of a former 2008 candidate for Arizona's U.S. congressional district 6 is part of the "Wiki the Vote" project.
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Richard Grayson was a Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District of Arizona.

Richard Grayson was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 6th Congressional District (map) of Arizona. He was seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).


Positions, record and controversies

  • Health care: Grayson favors universal health care in the form of Medicare for all Americans.[1]
  • Iraq: Grayson supports immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
  • Economy: Grayson supports a stimulus package to relieve the economic pressures of the current recession. He favors bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements that provide protections for workers in all nations. Grayson believes in responsible regulation of corporations and the financial industry.
  • Civil liberties: Grayson is opposed to the Patriot Act and other recent curtailments of civil liberties.
  • Abortion: Grayson supports abortion rights.
  • Labor: Grayson supports mandatory sick days for workers.
  • Education: Grayson supports increased funding for student grants.
  • Gay rights: Grayson supports gay rights including marriage equality.
  • Gun control: Grayson supports gun control.
  • Energy and environment: Grayson has proposed a dollar-a-gallon tax on gasoline to help achieve energy independence and fight climate change. He also supports other measures to protect the environment.
  • Foreign policy and national security: A supporter of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, Grayson seeks funding to modernize the armed forces and to increase services for veterans.
  • Taxes: Grayson favors increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and an increase in the earned income tax credit for less fortunate families.[2]

2008 campaign

Grayson has been open about the reason that he is running: the Democratic Party has not put forth a serious effort with a better candidate:

Since I filed to run as a candidate for the Democratic nomination in Arizona's Sixth Congressional District last May, I have not heard from anyone in the state Democratic party. For that matter, I haven't heard from a single Democratic voter in AZ-06. I originally filed to run because I believe in contested elections and because I was frustrated that Sixth Congressional District Democrats like myself did not have a candidate to vote for in November 2006, when our party won back the U.S. House, or in November 2004, in a crucial election that got many Democrats energized. All along, I have said I would happily step aside if a more credible Democrat would just step forward and run. That remains true.

Look, I know I am a horrible candidate for our party. I am no politician. Anyone glancing at the posts on this blog can see that. I am running only because no one else will. I completely understand why state and national Democrats have little interest in AZ-06. It has the lowest percentage of registered Democrats of any congressional district in the Cactus State.

Our party needs to ensure that Rep. Harry Mitchell in AZ-05 and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 win their first re-election campaigns; their victories in 2006 brought Democrats 4-4 parity in the state's U.S. House delegation. In 2008, we have an excellent chance of picking up the Republican seat in AZ-01 where an unpopular incumbent is retiring. We also have a very good chance to pick off another of Arizona's conservative Republican congressmen in AZ-03, where Bob Lord is a terrific candidate for our party.

Arizona's Sixth Congressional District should and must take a back seat to these eminently winnable races. But the national and state Democratic party should not abandon us. I believe 2008 is the year, as Brooks said, the Reagan conservative coalition has come apart. The impending Republican primary fight between Rep. Jeff Flake and Russell Pearce in AZ-06 is a sign of this, as is the chaos in the GOP presidential race.

In my posts over the past few months I've tried to show that Rep. Flake is vulnerable to attack as a rigid right-wing laissez-faire ideologue at a time when this ideology is being rejected by many voters -- including those who have long voted Republican. If Russell Pearce somehow upsets the incumbent in next September's GOP primary, many more Republicans will join AZ-06 Democrats in seeking an alternative.

Please, leaders and members of the Arizona Democratic Party, let's build for the future in Arizona's Sixth Congressional District, the fastest-growing district in the entire nation. Find a better candidate than Richard Grayson. One who doesn't talk about himself in the third person would be a good start.[3]


Richard Grayson was born in Brooklyn, NY, and educated in the New York public schools and the City University of New York, earning a B.A. in political science (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brooklyn College and an M.A. in English from the College of Staten Island. After graduating from the University of Florida College of Law with high honors in 1991, Grayson joined the school's research faculty as a staff attorney in social policy at the Center for Governmental Responsibility. Later he taught constitutional history, the first amendment and other courses as a visiting professor of liberal arts and legal studies at Farquhar College of Nova Southeastern University and served as associate director of student services and director of academic resources at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center.

Grayson is the author of numerous books of fiction, from With Hitler in New York (1979) to Highly Irregular Stories (2006), and WRITE-IN: Diary of a Congressional Candidate in Florida's Fourth Congressional District (2007), an account of his 2004 campaign which originally appeared as a recurring feature at McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Grayson has written op-ed and other articles for the New York Times, Newsday, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, Arizona Republic, San Jose Mercury News and other papers. He is the recipient of three individual artist fellowships in literature from the Florida Arts Council and a writer-in-residence award from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Since 1975, Grayson has taught writing, literature, legal studies, business and computer education courses on the undergraduate and gradute levels at such schools as Arizona State University, Mesa Community College, City University of New York, Long Island University, Fordham University, Florida International University, Broward Community College, Santa Fe Community College, Fashion Institute of Technology and The School of Visual Arts. He was also an English teacher at Phoenix's Jess Schwartz Jewish Community High School and has worked at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and writers' conferences at California State University at Long Beach, Winthrop University and Francis Marion University.

Saying he is troubled by the lack of Democratic opposition to Florida's Republican House members, Grayson has run three times for Congress when no Democratic candidate entered races against Rep. Michael Bilirakis in 1994, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 1996 and Rep. Ander Crenshaw in 2004. Grayson began working in political campaigns at age 13 when he handed out Election Day leaflets for "the Johnson-Humprhey-Kennedy" team in 1964, supporting the presidential ticket of President Lyndon Johnson and Senator Hubert Humphrey and the Senate candidacy of Robert Kennedy. He later worked in campaigns for New York Mayor John Lindsay, a Republican; Democratic presidential candidates Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Morris Udall, and Howard Dean; and in numerous congressional, legislative and municipal Democratic candidates. In 1994, Grayson was active in the unsuccessful campaign to fight anti-gay ballot measures in Alachua County, Florida.

Grayson lives in Apache Junction, Arizona, with his family and maintains other homes in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale.

2008 elections

Grayson is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 congressional elections.[4][5][6]

Money in politics

Information on this candidate's 2008 fundraising is not yet available. Stay tuned for live feeds of data from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.

Committees and affiliations


Grayson will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.


More background data


Articles and resources

See also


  1. Grayson for Congress website.
  2. Grayson for Congress website.
  3. Grayson's campaign website.
  4. 2008 Race Tracker page on Arizona’s 6th Congressional District
  5. Grayson's FEC filing for the 2007-08 election cycle
  6. Official Grayson campaign website

External resources

External articles