Gwen Graham Running For Congress In Florida
Bob Graham was a wildly popular Florida governor from 1979- 1987 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 2005. Previously he had been a state rep and a state senator-- and he never lost an election in his life. He was an environmental champion in a state where real estate developers had ruled the roost. In his last Senate campaign he kicked Republican Charlie Crist's ass 63-37%. Socially liberal and one of the few Senate Democrats to oppose Bush's war against Iraq, he was pretty conservative on economic justice issues and was a founder of the Big Business-oriented DLC. Yesterday his daughter, Gwen Graham, 50, tossed her hat into the ring for the FL-02 congressional seat (the traditionally Democratic eastern half of the Florida panhandle, which includes Tallahassee and Panama City). Romney beat Obama there last November, 52.3- 46.5% and Tea Party Republican Steve Southerland, first elected as part of the 2010 Great Blue Dog Apocalypse, won against conservative state Senator Al Lawson (D) 53-47%. The district is right on the tip top of the DCCC target list for 2014-- and Gwen Graham is exactly the kind of candidate they're looking for.
I caught up with her at a supermarket checkout line a few hours after she announced yesterday and spoke to her further while she was driving southwest towards Panama City. Well spoken and idealistic she didn't want to go beyond generalities she had down by rote, like “I want to be a different type of representative to find a common ground with Democrats and Republicans." When I asked her about specifics like the Chained CPI and marriage equality she abruptly told me her campaign manager said it was time for her to take another call. Steve Israel is going to love her.
Her dad was governor when she graduated from Leon High School in 1980. She returned to the area after university to practice law in Tallahassee and her three children also graduated from Leon High. People have been recruiting her to run for office forever. But this will be the first time.
Lawson says he may run for the Democratic nomination again and was a bit of a spoil-sport yesterday. “I told her it’s not going to be a race about her father, it’s going to be a race of what she can do up in Congress,” Lawson said. “I’ve never seen her involved with anything in this area.”
Keep in mind that Southerland scored a perfect ZERO on the ProgressivePunch analysis of crucial roll calls for the 113th Congress, a distinction he shared with half a dozen other Florida Tea Party Republican extremists, hate talk radio host Trey Radel, religious fanatic Dan Webster, Jeff Miller, Rich Nugent, Ander Crenshaw and Dennis Ross plus corrupt old hacks and Tea Party wanna-bes John Mica and Vern Buchanon. Zero-- all of them. The worst Democrat left in the delegation, now that the Blue Dogs have all been defeated, is lifetime Republican/opportunist Patrick Murphy, but even he was a 44.44 score.