U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Tallahassee, announced in a press release and video this morning that she might run for Florida governor in 2018.
"I'm excited to tell you first I am seriously considering running for governor in 2018," she said.
Graham, who said she won't seek re-election to her Congressional seat, would have faced a tough re-election after redistricting made her northern Florida district less favorable for Democrats. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is term limited so he can't run for re-election.
Graham won her seat in Congress in 2014. She has name recognition beyond northern Florida because she is the daughter of former governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also seems to be feeling out a Democratic race. Other potential names mentioned include Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and State Sen. Jeremy Ring who represents western Broward.
On the Republican side, it has been speculated that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will run -- his political action committee raised more than $4 million in one year. There has also been considerable chatter that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will run even though he denied that a couple days after he lost the Florida presidential primary.
Graham's challenge in a statewide Democratic primary will be explaining some right-leaning votes she took in her conservative district including in favor of the Keystone pipeline.
Since her district was reconfigured by a court order, Graham has been rumored to be preparing to drop out of Congress and launch a campaign for governor in 2018. When U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown announced she would stay in the seat, Graham's options narrowed. This is considered more than a trial balloon but a warning shot to funders and potential foes.
From her press release:
The politicians, lobbyists and courts in Tallahassee have been working to redraw and divide the North Florida district I represent -- they’ve turned what was an example of a fair district, into two partisan districts.
This is a perfect example of how dysfunctional our state government has become, and it’s caused me to rethink how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state.
I’m excited to tell you, first, I’m seriously considering running for governor in 2018.
Public servants must focus on the job they’re elected to do, so I will spend the remainder of my term fully representing you in Congress, but I will not seek re-election while considering this next step of service.
Working together, I know we can bring common sense back to Tallahassee and make our state work for the people, again.
Thank you for all the support you’ve given me in the past. I will continue looking to you for advice, support and inspiration as we build a stronger future for Florida.
Photo credit Associated Press