“Go, Gwen, go!”
That was the chant du jour as Gwen Graham supporters gathered together in Hollywood Friday night to cheer on their candidate.
The rally took place at the Leadership Blue event at The Diplomat Hotel. One of the most prominent attendees was New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, who announced her endorsement of Graham earlier in the day.
Hassan was joined by several other high-profile women who have endorsed Graham’s campaign for governor.
Among the speakers were state Reps. Kristin Jacobs, Amy Mercado, and Barbara Watson. Graham’s mother and former Florida First Lady Adele Graham was also on hand to stump for the candidate.
A prominent theme throughout the speeches was Graham’s potential status as the state’s first female governor. It was billed as a “Women for Graham” event, after all. But Hassan also tried to highlight Graham’s overall strength as a candidate.
“While Gwen’s perspective as a women, and her experience as a women is important, it is not her gender that qualifies her. It’s her values, and priorities, and record. Gwen Graham has them all.”
The recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy also earned attention in the room, as some have argued it could pave the way to Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Graham’s mother, Adele, asked, “If the Supreme Court rules against Roe v. Wade, do you realize that all of those decision will move from the federal area to the state area? It will up to the governor of Florida to implement the new laws. That is a huge reason why you need Governor Gwen Graham.”
“This is about our bodies,” echoed Hassan. “This is about our rights. This is about our liberty. Our liberty is at stake, and we have to vote like it.”
“We are seeing an unprecedented wave of female candidates, women across this nation, who are leading the fight to stand up for our values and to make progress,” said Hassan.
While those stumping for Graham, sought to inspire and motivate those supporters in the room, Graham’s speech in part painted a stark contrast between her and another Republican potentially heading the state.
“After 20 years of Republican rule in Florida, the state has run out of time. Our soul, the soul of our state, has been crushed under all of these horrible decisions that have been made in the last 20 years.”
She made clear that the stakes in 2018 are huge, calling it the most important election of her lifetime.
“This election is going to determine whether Florida has the bright future that we all want for each other.”