Gwen Graham – Page 3 – Florida Politics

Chris King pumps up campaign fund with $405,000

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King provided another $405,000 of his own money to his campaign in April, pushing his drive’s take to  $514,623 for the month, his campaign announced Tuesday.

The April haul, which included $109,623 from individual donors, was split between King’s official campaign account, which took in a total of $416,773 in April, and his political committee, Rise and Lead, which brought in $97,850.

King’s total raised to date is $4,626,237, and he ended April with $2,476,895 cash in hand, his campaign reported Tuesday. The Florida Division of Elections has not yet posted the April reports.

King, a Winter Park entrepreneur, had previously contributed more than $1.76 million to his campaign.

“As voters begin to tune into the governor’s race, our campaign is continuing to build support across Florida for Chris’s new leadership and fresh ideas,” Chris King for Florida senior adviser Omar Khan stated in a news release. “This race is wide open and we will have the necessary resources to share Chris’s bold, progressive message with voters who are hungry for change.”

King faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the August 28 Democratic primary.

Philip Levine

Philip Levine brings in $2 million in April

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine continues to bank money ahead of the August Democratic primary for governor.

Per a media release from his campaign Monday, Team Levine “topped $2 million in April fundraising through its campaign account and affiliated political committee, including the Mayor’s continued matched investments in the campaign.”

The release touts Levine as leading the race, with a six-point lead in an independent poll, and “five regional offices and counting.”

“As we enter the critical two months before primary ballots drop, our campaign has built on its momentum, strengthening our lead in the polls, fundraising, and grassroots energy,” commented Christian Ulvert, senior adviser.

“April’s numbers and our latest polling only further indicate that our campaign is prepared to win in August and November,” Ulvert added, “and bring the progressive change necessary to move the state of Florida forward.”

Levine leads the pack on the Democratic side, though two candidates haven’t shown April tallies yet.

At the end of March, Gwen Graham was in second place with about $6.5 million raised followed by Chris King with $4.1 million. April figures for both campaigns are pending

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has reported for April, and while his campaign is picking up donor momentum, he still trails the field.

Of course, all of the Democrats are staring up at the Republican cash leader.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam had his own $2 million month, putting him near $29 million raised.

Putnam’s primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, had raised just shy of $7 million as of the beginning of April, with $6.5 million at the ready.

Richard Corcoran, a potential gubernatorial candidate who teased a big announcement on Thursday, had raised about $6.8 million in his Watchdog PAC with roughly $2.2 million on hand at the beginning of April.

Andrew Gillum

Andrew Gillum ramps up money game, adds $447K in April

Can we call it “Gillumentum” yet?

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced Monday that his gubernatorial campaign raised $447,711 last month, beating his March total by more than $100,000.

“With a little less than four months to go in the Democratic Primary to go, our campaign is catching fire at the right time,” campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan said.

“Andrew’s strong performance in the FOX13 debate, coupled with growing grassroots enthusiasm, make this month’s fundraising total particularly telling for our momentum. We’re on track to have the resources we need to communicate to voters and win in August and November.”

The campaign said $333,500 of the April money came in through Gillum’s political committee, Forward Florida, while the remaining $114,211 was raised through his campaign account.

The campaign and committee reports weren’t online at the Florida Division of Elections when the announcement went out Monday, though records available on the Forward Florida website indicate most of the April haul came in during the closing days of the month.

The running tally of contributions shows that the committee had brought in $40,500 through April 25, including $10,000 from Dunedin chiropractor Michael LaRocca and $5,000 apiece from alcohol distributor Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, political committee Good Ideas for Government, Tampa real estate company Peter H. Leach & Associates, Boston resident Charles Rodgers and Beverly Hills writer Jamie Wolf.

Gillum faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee; Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine in the Democratic primary to replace termed-out Gov. Rick Scott, a Naples Republican.

Gillum’s campaign did not list how much it had on hand at the end of last month. He had about $800,000 on hand at the end of March. Total fundraising now sits at about $3 million — still the back of the pack despite the better fundraising numbers the past two months.

Levine led the field with $11 million raised through March, much of it from his personal fortune, while Graham was in second place with about $6.5 million raised followed by King with $4.1 million.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are competing for the Republican nomination. House Speaker Richard Corcoran may join them in the race as soon as this week.

Gwen Graham opens campaign HQ in Orlando

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham opened a new campaign headquarters in Orlando Saturday.

“This is just thrilling. I’m so excited to officially be a resident of Orlando. Central Florida is at the heart of our 67-county strategy,” Graham said, “After 20 years of Republican dominance, we face so many challenges. That’s why I’m running for governor. We must restore our promise to public education, protect our environment, and build an economy that works for everyone.”

The former congresswoman was joined by supporters and a handful of Orlando-area elected officials for the opening celebration, including Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart, who endorsed Graham ahead of the weekend event.

“I’ve had enough of the portraits of men hanging in the Governor’s mansion. We have a real chance to do something about a generation of failed leadership in Florida,” Stewart said Saturday. “I believe in Gwen Graham. I am voting for her. And I am proud to endorse her as the next Governor of the State of Florida.”

Stewart is a leader in Democrats’ fight for an assault weapons ban. Graham reiterated her support of such a measure Saturday.

 “I was actually in Orlando when the Pulse shooting happened and then I was able to sit with Congressman John Lewis on the House floor and call for action. I still can’t believe nothing happened,” she said. “After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, we must take action. When I’m governor, I’m going to listen to the students who are crying out for commonsense gun safety.”

Along with Stewart, Orlando Rep. Amy Mercado, Attorney General candidate and Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw, HD 47 candidate Anna Eskamani and former Rep. Karen Castor Dentel attended the headquarters opening.

Graham’s new HQ is not far from Democratic Primary opponent Chris King’s base, opened last month. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine also recently opened a campaign office in Central Florida, though his is in Kissimmee.

Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, King and Levine in the primary.

Through March, she held the No. 2 spot in primary race fundraising with about $6.5 million raised and $3.9 million in the bank. Levine has been in the top spot since entering the race last year, though much of his funding comes from his personal fortune.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are competing for the Republican nomination. House Speaker Richard Corcoran could join them in the race as soon as this week.

Linda Stewart endorses Gwen Graham in governor’s race

Orlando Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart is throwing her support behind Gwen Graham in Florida’s Governor’s race.

“I’ve seen the damage that 20 years of one-party Republican rule in Tallahassee has caused. They’ve neglected our environment, they defunded our public schools, and they gutted our gun laws. We need strong leadership, focused on the needs of Floridians, and that’s why I’m proud to support Gwen Graham for governor,” Stewart stated in a news release issued Friday by Graham’s campaign.

Stewart, also a former Orange County Commissioner and state representative, has led the fight for an assault weapons ban in the state Senate. She’s also working to secure funding for a Pulse Memorial in Orlando. And In addition to her leadership on gun safety, Stewart has been an advocate for the environment and higher education.

Graham faces Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary fight to run for governor.

“After Pulse, Rick Scott and the Republicans in the Legislature offered their thoughts and prayers — and then failed to act. They turned their heads and did nothing to prevent another mass shooting or to stop the daily violence that plagues communities across Florida,” Graham stated in the release. “Despite opposition, Senator Linda Stewart has fought for bold proposals to stop gun violence. She has stood strong for the environment and education, and I admire her leadership under pressure. As governor, I will work with her to pass universal background checks, ban military-style assault weapons, and secure funding for a Pulse Memorial.”

Poll: A Patrick Murphy-David Jolly ticket reflects Democrats’ desire for the middle

A newly commissioned poll suggests that Democratic voters are seriously interested in a “unity” ticket that would be led by former U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, and David Jolly, a Republican, in Florida’s gubernatorial race.

The poll’s more significant ramification, however, may be that Florida’s Democrats may prefer a compromising moderate Democrat to a staunch progressive idealist.

The poll by Frederick Polls, an outfit that Politico points out was Murphy’s pollster, puts a Murphy-Jolly ticket atop the Democratic field, taking 21 percent, compared with 17 percent for Philip Levine and 12 percent for Gwen Graham, with Andrew Gillum and Chris King showing in for support.

Yet the result might be more about Florida Democrats desire to see unity in the spirit of “getting things done” than any explicit support for Murphy and Jolly, who’ve been dropping hints about a unity ticket after spending much of the past year touring together on a bipartisan two-man show against hyperpartisan politics.

The question as Frederick Polls, of Arlington, Va., posed it was:

“Some people are urging Patrick Murphy to run for Governor and pick David Jolly, a moderate and independent former Republican Congressman, as his Lt. Governor running mate. They say it would be a clear sign Murphy would be a different kind of Governor who would work together with reasonable Republicans in Tallahassee to set aside Florida’s old, partisan politics and get things done for Florida. In this case, who would you vote for in the Democratic Primary for Governor?”

The survey was of 750 likely Democratic primary voters, taken April 23-28 through a mixture of landline and cellphones.

Murphy and Jolly both ran for the U.S. Senate two years ago. Jolly, who was then a Republican Congressman from Clearwater, pulled out when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio decided to run for re-election after all, while Murphy, then a Democratic congressman from Palm Beach Gardens, lost to Rubio in the general. Since then, the two have united in their message that partisan politics have ruined Congress, touring college campuses and other venues in Florida and nationally.

The central question that put a Murphy-Jolly ticket atop the Democratic field was not the only one suggesting that Florida’s Democratic voters want someone seeking the middle.

Voters picked, 70-22, “a moderate Democrat who is willing to work together with reasonable Republicans to get things done,” over “a who is committed to fighting for true progressive policies without compromise.”

Before they were asked about the unity ticket the voters were asked just about the four announced candidates, plus Murphy, and Murphy finished tied with Graham for second, with 14 percent, while Levine grabbed 20 percent.

Even with that, and with Gillum and King, 44 percent of voters still declared they are undecided.

Florida Chamber of Commerce endorses Adam Putnam for governor

The Florida Chamber of Commerce on Thursday endorsed Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to be the state’s next governor.

Putnam joined Chamber leaders Thursday morning at a press conference at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, billed as a “special announcement.” The news came amidst a Chamber conference on poverty and prosperity. 

“I am proud to have the support of the Florida Chamber of Commerce,” Putnam said. “The Florida Chamber has a long and proven history of supporting businesses across the state, and I look forward to working alongside the Florida Chamber to ensure Florida continues to build on its legacy as the most business-friendly state in the nation.

Putnam promised “as governor” to focus on vocational, career and technical education in middle and high schools to better prepare students for the workforce.

“Together, we will continue to strengthen our workforce and provide opportunities for our young people to ensure Florida remains as the best place to do businesses,” Putnam said.

Among those with Putnam were former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, chair of the Florida Chamber Political Council; Tracy Duda Chapman, chair of the Florida Chamber Board of Directors; and Mark Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

From Wilson: “Adam Putnam is the leader Florida needs to keep Florida’s momentum going. Adam Putnam knows Florida best, and I know without a doubt he believes in free enterprise and economic opportunity for every single Floridian.”

Putnam faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary fight, with Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran waiting in the wings to possibly enter the fray.

The leading Democrats are former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Winter Park businessman Chris King.

Last week, the Florida Chamber endorsed Gov. Rick Scott in his Republican bid for the U.S. Senate.

Philip Levine

Philip Levine campaign adds Broward County director

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is adding a presence in Broward County now, with the addition of Bob Sciranko as his campaign’s Broward regional area director.

Levine already has set up regional area directors in Tampa Bay and Central Florida to go along with his campaign headquarters in Miami.

Sciranko served as field director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. Previously, he worked as regional organizing director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign for eastern Broward County and on Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign for northern Broward County. He also served as a deputy field organizer on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Levine, the businessman and former mayor of Miami Beach, faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park businessman Chris King in the August 28 Democratic primary to run for governor.

“Bob’s deep experience in Broward County will enhance the strength of our robust South Florida engagement plan as we work to bring Mayor Levine’s message directly to the people of Florida,” Campaign Manager Matthew Van Name stated in a news release. “We’re excited to have him join Team Levine as we continue to expand and develop a dynamic campaign infrastructure built to engage with voters in communities throughout every region of our state.”

Police association announces Governor, Cabinet endorsements

The Florida Police Benevolent Association on Wednesday announced endorsements for candidates running for executive branch positions in the fall.

“The dangers law enforcement, probation and correctional officers face have placed our professions at a crossroads. Our members want leaders who value their service and sacrifices. The selected candidates have a well-established record of loyalty to our service and our endorsements reflect the trust built between us,” said Florida PBA President John Rivera.

“We will ask our members, their friends and families – and all citizens in Florida who love and respect law enforcement, to cast their ballots in support of our endorsed candidates.”

In the race to replace termed-out Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida PBA board named Adam Putnam as their Republican pick and Gwen Graham as their Democratic one.

Putnam, who faces Ponte Vedra U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican Primary for governor, was quick to tout the endorsement.

“I am proud to have the support of the men and women of the Florida Police Benevolent Association,” Putnam said in a Wednesday press release. “As Governor, I’ll work every day to make Florida first in the nation. I want Florida to be the first choice for Americans to launch their careers, start their businesses and raise their families. Yet, none of this can happen without the brave public servants that dedicate their lives to protecting and serving Florida’s citizens and visitors.

“Public safety is the foundation of our society, and as Governor, I will put Florida first by continuing to support the brave men and women who wear a uniform each day and go to work to protect our great state.”

Graham did the same, saying via Twitter that she would “work to support Florida law enforcement and strengthen the relationships between police and the communities they protect.”

Earning the honor in the crowded Attorney General race were former circuit court judge Ashley Moody, a Republican, and Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw. The endorsement adds to an immense pile of law enforcement endorsements for Moody, including more than half of Florida’s county sheriffs.

Shaw took to Twitter to spread the word shortly after the endorsement was announced.

The PBA also picked Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell over his three opponents in the Republican Primary for Ag Commissioner. The Caldwell endorsement comes a day after his chief rival, Sebring Republican Sen. Denise Grimsley, announced endorsements from 10 county sheriffs.

Caldwell accepted the endorsement with the following statement:  “I’m proud to have received the unanimous endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association. Florida’s law enforcement community is made up of brave and selfless men and women who admirably uphold their commitment to protect and serve. I am honored that they have placed their trust in me.”

The PBA nod follows several “waves” of endorsements for Caldwell, mainly from his colleagues in the state House.

The police association said its endorsements were for the primary race, though it offered its support for former Margate Sen. Jeremy Ring, who is currently unopposed in the Democratic Primary for Chief Financial Officer. Sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis who is opposed in the Republican Primary, albeit nominally, didn’t make the cut.

The Florida PBA, which represents more than 28,000 law enforcement officers,  said their selections came after its board offered each statewide candidate a chance to sit down for an interview with their committee.

The primary election will be held Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Philip Levine

‘On the trail’: Philip Levine touts his campaign for governor

Former Miami Beach mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Philip Levine rolled out another campaign ad Tuesday.

The aptly titled “Philip Levine: 6 Months on the Trail” chronicles the campaign from its launch in November to today, as senior adviser Christian Ulvert explained in a press release announcing the ad.

“Today, the Philip Levine for Governor campaign released a new digital ad highlighting the last six months on the trail. The ad showcases the campaign’s growth and momentum, taking a look back to when Mayor Levine launched his campaign on Nov. 1st in Miami. The ad features the campaign’s travels to every corner of the state, the regional campaign office openings and Philip Levine’s upward climb in the polls to become the leading candidate.”

The 1-minute-and-20-second video begins with a clip of Levine’s announcement speech before moving on to a Hollywood movie-style montage of Levine sound bites interspersed with clips of news coverage on the campaign.

The clip highlights his bus tour, his participation in the post-Parkland march on Tallahassee, the opening of his St. Petersburg and Kissimmee campaign offices, and a poll showing him leading the primary field.

The final frames of the ad tout Levine’s 22 staffers across the state, his offices in St. Pete, Kissimmee, Tampa, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as well as his $11 million in campaign funding  – much of it from his own checkbook, but still millions more than the next closest Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

The ad is the latest in Levine’s media blitz that has seen him become the most visible of the four candidates in the Democratic Primary. The South Florida Democrat had already spent $6 million on ads by the end of March and spent at least $1.7 million more for airtime in April.

Levine faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Orlando-are businessman Chris King in the Democratic Primary.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are competing for the Republican nomination. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is expected to join the primary race in the coming weeks.

Levine’s video is below.

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