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Gwen Graham, D-Margaritaville, gets Jimmy Buffett to host voter rally

@MarcACaputo

Florida music icon Jimmy Buffett plans to hold an Oct. 29 get-out-the-vote rally for Democrat Gwen Graham in her effort to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland.

Buffett is set to perform “a short acoustic set with his friend Mac McAnally” and tout Graham’s candidacy, according to a press release. More details are forthcoming about the time, location and ticket availability.

From the free media exposure to voter mobilization to fundraising, Buffett’s appearance for Graham is the type of star-power help most candidates dream about. Polling indicates the race between her and Southerland is tight in Congressional District 2, which stretches from the Tallahassee area to Panama City.

The “Margaritaville” singer has been friends with the Graham family for decades. Buffett founded the Save the Manatees advocacy group in 1981 with then-Gov. Bob Graham, the candidate’s father.

Last month, Buffett was spotted in Tallahassee dining at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee with lobbyists Jeff Sharkey and Taylor Patrick Biehl. They represent Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings.

Sharkey and Biehl also represent the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, Inc., which would love to cash in on Florida’s new but limited prescription cannabis law. That law is highly restrictive, though, and the association and potential investors would love for Amendment 2 to pass.

It’s probably a good bet that the old smuggler at least supports the medical marijuana amendment, but so far he hasn’t said much (or been asked much) about it. Some polls show it struggling to get near 60 percent – the threshold needed to pass a constitutional amendment – while others have it polling at levels indicating it will be approved.

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