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Former Florida Democratic Party chairs denounce attack ad aimed at Graham

Gwen Graham 10 EKM
Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who is running for governor.

Three former leaders of the Florida Democratic Party denounced a new attack ad against Gwen Graham from a group that supports one of her rivals in the governor's race, Andrew Gillum.

"This is the type of unethical, disgusting trick we’ve come to expect from Republicans in Tallahassee," former party Chairman Rod Smith said in a statement, sent to the media by Graham's campaign. "To see Andrew Gillum embrace secret-money attacks is disappointing and disqualifies him from earning my support.

"If he is truly the progressive Democrat he claims to be, Gillum should immediately call for his secret-money allies to immediately take this ad off the air."

Smith was referring to a $782,000 ad buy by The Collective, an organization that supports black candidates running for office around the country. The largest donors to its SuperPac are George Soros and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

The ad paints Graham, a former Congresswoman from Tallahassee, as not liberal enough to be governor. It's scheduled to run on network TV in West Palm Beach and in cable markets across the state starting Thursday, according to Politico.

"We must stand together and unite the Democratic Party," former Chairman Karen Thurman said in the same statement put out by the Graham campaign. "After 20 years of Republican rule in Tallahassee, there’s too much on the line for Democrats to attack each other."

Former Chairman Terrie Brady said in the statement that Democrats running for governor "should be running on their ideas for Florida's future."

"They should not be attacking other Democratic candidates," she said. "I hope that Mr. Gillum and the other contenders will take a positive approach going forward."

Gillum's communications director on Thursday brushed off the criticism.

"In this race no candidate will be able to run from their voting record, but if we had a choice in this ad, we'd want Mayor Gillum's progressive record to be the focus," Geoff Burgan said. "The Graham campaign seems to be uncomfortable with her own voting record."