Tea Party Surges In Texas, Grassroots Focus Could Target Congressional Race In Florida

Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) could be looked upon as the new political “kingmaker” as more and more of tea party and Ted Cruz supported candidates, like Nebraska’s Ben Sasse are winning their respective primary elections over incumbent and establishment Republican rivals.

Tuesday’s primary election in Texas saw several more Cruz-backed candidates win the GOP nomination over their establishment rivals.

While Cruz’s picks appear to be winning their races, and the tea party seems to be surging, will this trend continue in other grassroots versus establishment primary races around the country?

One particular Republican primary congressional contest in Florida could be one of the next focal races the tea party, and the likes of Cruz, weigh in on.

Democrat Alan Grayson, who we can honestly say hates the tea party, is facing another congressional challenge by a trio of Republicans vying to oust him from office.

The conservative grassroots candidate in this contested primary has already been identified, Navy veteran Jorge Bonilla.

Upon entering the race, Bonilla quickly snatched the grassroots candidate mantel from the rest of the Republican field of candidates, and has caught the eye of prominent grassroots leaders, like former Congressman Allen West, Senator Marco Rubio (R), and Congressman Ron DeSantis (R).

Bonilla has even snagged the endorsement of Congressman Pete Session (R), who is considered to be establishment, but has stated that Bonilla is the “consensus candidate” in his primary race, and the only one that can win in November.

Grayson himself has already taken several shots at Bonilla, even before he qualified to be on the Republican ballot. What does that tell you?
Bonilla’s two other opponents, Peter Vivaldi and Carol Platt, are actively touting different campaign styles and strategies.

Platt, a Osceola County Realtor, has been pushing her recent congressional campaign endorsements, especially her tepid support from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former state legislator, Charles Bronson.

Both men are considered establishment by the grassroots, but the popular Bush, is seen as a huge problem by the conservative grassroots for his support of amnesty for illegal immigrants and Common Core.

In a recent debate between the three Republican candidates, in which she only garnered 12 votes out of 85 (Bonilla received 47 votes and Vivaldi 26), Platt was asked whether she was for or against the Common Core education standards.

While Bonilla and Vivaldi both stated that they were against Common Core, and Bonilla taking it a bit further by vowing to sponsor legislation to defund it, Platt took a more evasive approach at answering the question.

Her response struck a nerve with the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, who took issue with her answer:

There is no national board of education and if following the “true boundaries,” she would have said that unconstitutional Department of Education should not ever have been formed and should be shut down. As expected, when asked by Manjerres after the debate if she opposed Common Core, she parroted the Jeb Bush approved talking points – FL Stop Common Core Coalition

Vivaldi has his own issues. While bragging that he may possibly have the support of many, many pastors within the congressional district, as well as the support of their congregations, Vivaldi’s candidacy is a non-starter.

When asked by a local Orlando area media outlet about his Felony arrest for bad check writing, Vivaldi stated that he knew the issue was going to come up, but didn’t expect it to until the general election against Grayson.

But while a past arrest may not be campaign-ending issue, falsifying a state document is.

Just a couple of years ago, Vivaldi stated on an application for an open Orange County Commission seat, that he had never been arrested before for-for anything.

Vivaldi’s response was obviously not true, and caused his removal from consideration to the seat by Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office.

Florida’s primary election is August 26.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Shark Tank.