May 02, 2017

Emily's List endorses Gwen Graham for Florida governor

Gwen Graham 10 EKM (1)

@amysherman1

Emily's List, the national group that backs pro-choice female candidates, announced today that it endorsed Gwen Graham for Florida governor.

From a press release:

“Gwen Graham doesn’t need to tell Floridians that she’s a champion for women and families in her state – her record proves that beyond a doubt,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. “While serving in one of the most divisive Congresses in memory, Gwen fought to ensure Florida’s veterans received the health care they deserved, to end gender discrimination in pay, and for affordable college education for Floridians and all Americans. A tireless advocate for the middle class, Gwen has time and again fought for all the people of her state by building consensus, finding common ground, and defending our progressive values. Florida has never in its history elected a woman governor, and as someone who is incredibly passionate about the Sunshine State and the people who live there, Gwen is the leader Floridians need as governor. Gwen puts Florida first – and we are thrilled to stand with her in this fight.”

Gwen Graham kicks off campaign for governor in Miami Gardens

Gwen Graham 10 EKM (1)

@amysherman1

Gwen Graham, a former North Florida congresswoman and daughter of former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, officially announced her bid for governor on Tuesday, becoming the first major female candidate in a crowded field.

“I am so proud to announce I am running to serve as Florida’s next governor,” she said.

Graham focused much of her speech on supporting public schools and criticized the state for grading public schools and focusing on standardized tests.

“As governor I will not just criticize this culture of teaching to the test: I will end high-stakes testing,” she vowed.

Graham’s announcement at Carol City park in Miami Gardens was no surprise, because she has essentially acted like she was running for the 2018 race during the past year.

In April 2016, Graham announced she wouldn’t seek election to her seat in Congress, which was redrawn to favor Republicans, and was seriously considering a race for governor.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is term limited, prompting many candidates from both major parties to consider a run.

Keep reading here.

May 01, 2017

Gwen Graham expected to announce for governor Tuesday

GwengrahamAP

@amysherman1

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is expected to announce her bid for governor Tuesday in Miami Gardens.

Her spokespersons are not officially confirming the subject of her "major announcement" but Democrats believe she will make her candidacy official.

Graham announced a year ago that she would not seek re-election to her Panhandle-based seat in Congress and would instead explore a bid for governor.

She will become the first major candidate who is female -- on the Democratic side Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando businessman Chris King have announced. Republican Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam filed Monday.

March 01, 2017

Andrew Gillum, candidate for Florida governor, will speak to Broward Democrats

Gillumdncap

@amysherman1

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who announced this week he will run for Florida governor in 2018 will speak to Broward Democrats Saturday night.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver the keynote speech at the county party's annual fundraising dinner.

Other speakers including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel and Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, another contender for the 2018 governor's race, is expected to attend the dinner. Gillum became the first major candidate to announce for the governor's race but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and trial lawyer John Morgan have all but announced. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a potential contender.

Gillum, 37, has been in the spotlight more in the past year after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention and took on the gun lobby in Florida. But he isn't well-known among average voters in South Florida.

About 350 Democrats have bought tickets to attend the "Obama-Roosevelt dinner" at Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward has about 600,000 registered Democratic voters -- the largest contingent in the state. A key challenge for the county party is to find a way to drive up turnout in 2018 -- in past cycles Broward voters have shown scant interest when the presidential candidates aren't on the ballot.

December 15, 2016

Husband's cancer is a factor in Graham's decision to run for governor

Gwen1_apFrom Brendan Farrington at the Associated Press:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham says she wants to run for governor, and she plans to run for governor. But there's one very important factor that's weighing on her decision: her husband has cancer.

"Every part of me wants to run for governor, that's what I feel passionate about, that's what I know I need to do for the state of Florida, but things happen in life that could take me off that path. I hope not," Graham said Wednesday evening while conducting her last "work day" as a congresswoman - helping sell Christmas trees at an outdoor stand.

The work days were a signature of her father Bob Graham's time as Florida governor and a U.S. senator. Like her father, she spends time experiencing different jobs as a way to reach out to constituents and voters.

She decided not to seek a second term in Congress after the Florida Supreme Court ordered new congressional districts be drawn so that don't favor incumbents or political parties. Graham's district became far more Republican and she decided to explore a 2018 run for governor rather than risk re-election.

She sounded a lot like a candidate when talking with reporters outside the Christmas tree stand, saying she plans to campaign in all 67 counties and discussing her campaign strategy. But she said she's waiting to see how treatment progresses on her husband Steve Hurm's prostate cancer.

"He absolutely wants me to run. He's very supportive of that and I couldn't do it without him by my side," she said. "I wouldn't do it without him by my side."

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leaving office in 2019 due to term limits. Among other Democrats believed to be considering a run are Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and trial lawyer John Morgan. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is also considering a run.

The Republican Governors Association is already preparing for a potential Graham candidacy, wasting little time after this year's election to begin attacking Graham in press releases. The association called Graham "just another Washington politician." Graham hadn't held elected office before winning her House seat two years ago.

Photo credit: AP

December 08, 2016

Republicans go on offensive against Gwen Graham

Gwen1_ap

@ByKristenMClark

Gwen Graham hasn't officially launched a campaign for Florida governor in 2018 -- but that's not stopping the Republican Governors Association from taking a pre-emptive swipe at the outgoing Democratic congresswoman from Tallahassee.

In a statement Thursday, the RGA accused Graham of not being transparent, saying her congressional office hasn't responded to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the RGA.

However, the federal FOIA applies only to the executive branch, i.e. federal agencies. Congress, like federal courts, is exempt so Graham -- or any other member of Congress -- is under no obligation to respond to FOIA requests.

Nonetheless, RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said, "when it comes to transparency, Gwen Graham says one thing, but does another."

"Graham says she believes that Florida families deserve full transparency, but as her actions have demonstrated, she only believes in full transparency until it could impact her quest for political power," Thompson said.

Graham dismissed the RGA's criticism, saying in a statement: "We are 23 months away from the governor's election in Florida, and there will be plenty of time for the RGA to engage in this petty nonsense and partisan attacks."

Continue reading "Republicans go on offensive against Gwen Graham" »

August 04, 2016

PolitiFact: Gwen Graham says Rick Scott boasts about low wages

GwengrahamAP

A Donald Trump presidency would be as bad for America as Gov. Rick Scott has been for Florida, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham said to delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

At a Florida delegation breakfast on July 28, Graham compared the Republican presidential nominee to former businessman Scott, saying they were both from the "con-man wing" of the GOP. She said Scott has stunted Florida’s economy by keeping it a low-wage state.

"After six years, we’re now the third most populous state, but we rank 38th in wages," said Graham, the daughter of former Florida Gov. Bob Graham. "Scott's actually proud of how low they are. He goes out around the country and advertises that to other states."

We wondered if Floridians really earned so little, and whether Scott was so proud of low wages that he was using it as a selling point for other states. We found Graham was tripped up by details for both parts of this claim.

Keep reading Joshua Gillin's fact-check here.

Photo by AP