Gwen Graham Archives - Page 4 of 31 - Florida Politics

Gwen Graham shifts Christmas Trees, offers health advice to men

Gwen Graham spent her last workday as a U.S. Representative at a Christmas tree stand in Tallahassee, helping customers select trees to take home — and reflecting on her time in Washington and plans to run for governor.

“Are you that Gwen?” one customer asked.

She was, engaging in a campaign tactic that propelled her father, Bob Graham into the governor’s office in 1978 and later the U.S. Senate, and helped send his daughter to Washington.

“It’s a real opportunity to know people on a different level than you might if they just came to talk to you in your office or met you in Costco or something,” Graham said.

Underlining her point, a man wearing a UPS polo shirt showed up to wish Graham well. She’d worked with him slinging packages him last Christmas, Graham said.

As for her future, Graham said she fully intends to seek the governorship but that the timing of her announcement would depend on the health of her husband, Steve Hurm, a Tallahassee lawyer. He’s due at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Wednesday for evaluation of Stage IV prostate cancer.

“Every part of me wants to run for governor,” Graham told reporters. “It’s what I know I need to do for the state of Florida. But things happen in life that might take me off that path. I hope not.”

Hurm has been encouraging her to campaign. “I wouldn’t do it without him by my side,” she said.

Presuming Graham does run, she’ll make campaigning her day job until Election Day on Nov. 6, 2018, she said. She plans to keep her existing team together, including Julia Woodward, her chief of staff and campaign manager during her run for Congress.

Of leaving Congress after a single term (having been redistricted into an overwhelmingly Republican seat), she said the experience was “bittersweet.”

“The opportunity in Washington to work together — Democrats, Republicans — to actually get things done is real. It can be done.”

As for her husband’s health, Graham had this advice for gentlemen of a certain age: Get your PSA test and take the results seriously.

“In today’s world, you can Google anything and you can find a reason to not see it as a real health warning,” she said. A positive result “means that you seriously need to go the next step and find out if it’s prostate cancer. That’s my new crusade.”

Andrew Gillum is “real deal” for governor, supporters say

The push to draft Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to run for governor has picked up two more supporters.

Mayor Lauren Poe of Gainesville and Mayor Eric Jones of West Park hopped on the bandwagon Thursday.

Gillum, a 37-year-old Democrat, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body.

“As mayors from across the state of Florida, we know the importance of having a governor who understands the needs of our cities,” Poe and Jones, both Democrats, said in a joint statement. “We believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nearly 14 years of local government experience will be a huge asset as the next governor of our state.

“We have admired Andrew’s innovative, inspired and forward-looking leadership,” they said. “He created a jobs program to help young people find quality work, and he has developed unique ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses.

“Under his leadership, Tallahassee was named one of the top cities nationwide to receive designation as a TechHire community by President Obama’s White House, allowing residents to train for the jobs of tomorrow’s economy,” the mayors added. “In short, Mayor Andrew Gillum is the real deal.”

The jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race already has begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.

On the Democratic side, outgoing Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.

Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that stretches from Jacksonville to Gainesville. But Gillum stayed out of the race, and former state lawmaker Al Lawson, another Democrat, won the seat.

Email Insights: Republican Governors Association takes aim at Gwen Graham

The 2018 gubernatorial race has officially begun — even though none of the likely candidates have filed paperwork to run.

In an email Thursday, the Republican Governors Association blasted outgoing Rep. Gwen Graham, one of several Democrats considering a 2018 run. The association said Graham’s office hasn’t responded to Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Republican Governors Association.

According to documents provided by the Republican Governors Association, the organization requested all documents related to Graham Companies, real estate and development projects in Florida, and the “American Dream Project” in Miami. The request was made in October; and in an email Thursday, the RGA said the documents would “give voters valuable insight into how she conducts her congressional office.”

“When it comes to transparency, Gwen Graham says one thing, but does another. Graham says she believes that Florida families deserve full transparency, but as her actions have demonstrated, she only believes in full transparency until it could impact her quest for political power,” said Jon Thompson, the director of communications for the Republican Governors Association, in a statement. “Graham should immediately release her congressional records so that Florida voters know exactly how she was using her influence as a Washington politician to benefit her political ambitions.”

Graham has resigned from the board and said Thursday she has no involvement in the project mentioned in the FOIA request.

“As the RGA probably already knows, I voluntarily resigned from the company’s board when I was elected to Congress, and I have no involvement with this project,” she said in a statement. “We are 23 months away from the Governor’s election in Florida, and there will be plenty of time for the RGA to engage in this petty nonsense and partisan attacks. For the rest of 2016, I’m focused on finishing the job I was elected to do and then enjoying the holiday season with my family. I recommend the folks at the RGA do the same.”

She continued: “So here’s some advice for the DC crowd from a mother: Turn off your Twitter accounts and your press release machines for a few weeks; go spend time with your family, visit friends, check out some museums, read a book, and join the rest of our great nation in spending a few weeks without the nonstop vitriolic back and forth of Washington type politics.”

The Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply to Congress. According to a March 2016 article in Government Executive, correspondence between members of Congress and individuals, and draft bills are protected and considered private.

Thompson acknowledged in an email to FloridaPolitics.com on Thursday that the “law does not require” Graham to release the records the RGA is requesting. However, he said the group feels that “as someone running for governor, who consistently talks a big game on transparency, she would want to release these records so that FL voters know exactly what she was communicating to her colleagues and business interests.”

Graham is one of several Democrats believed to be pondering a run for governor in 2018. The North Florida congresswoman did not run for re-election, and is wrapping up her first term in the U.S. House. Earlier this week, WFSU reported that, during her final floor speech recently, Graham said she was fortunate to grow up in a “family dedicated to public service.”

According to WFSU, she went on to say she “never planned to follow in my father’s footsteps into politics. But as, as our country became more divided, my thoughts began to change.” Graham is the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham.

In April, she told Florida Politics that she realized her heart and her head are leading her “toward running for governor.” She stopped short of actually announcing, though has dropped hints about her intentions along the way. In October, she told a packed crowd at the weekly “Café Con Tampa” lecture series that she will “run a 67-county strategy” if she runs.

If she does decide to run, she could face a crowded field Democratic field. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine are all believed to be considering a run. John Morgan has said he is weighing his options, after a group of South Florida politicos started a petition drive to draft him for governor. And a group of Democratic college students recently started their own petition in hopes of convincing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to throw his hat in the race.

On the Republican side, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is believed to be gearing up for his own gubernatorial bid.

__Tallahassee-based reporter Jim Rosica contributed to this report.

 

Phil Levine tells his constituents that gridlock “is not an option”

It was almost exactly a year ago when the Miami Beach City Commission passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Philip Levine and City Manager Jimmy Morales to begin discussions with officials in Miami, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation on a project that would link Miami Beach to Miami via a wireless streetcar in what has become known as the Beach Corridor project. That system would also run through Miami Beach.

In an email statement issued sent Tuesday, Levine says he remains fully committed to the project, but won’t commit any financial resources until he gets full buy-in from the Miami-Dade County government.

“This is instrumental, as our taxpayers alone should not bear the full responsibility of building a rail corridor that connects Miami Beach to the City of Miami,” he writes. “But, we know that for it to be a successful system, connectivity throughout Miami Beach and key points in Miami are essential.”

Miami-Dade County has said it will apply for federal and state funding for its part of the Beach Corridor, but Levine said earlier this summer that Miami Beach would explore their own local alternative funding source,

The Miami Beach City Commission was scheduled to consider an interim agreement with Greater Miami Tramlink Partners last month, but that vote was delayed as city leaders said that they’d prefer more time to communicate with the public about the proposal, the Miami Herald reports.

In his communique, Levine refers to the $400 million plan to combat sea level rise as an example of how Miami Beach under his leadership knows what’s doing.

“We built a plan, funded it through responsible revenue choices and implemented a program that saw pumps installed, elevated roads and dry streets,” he writes. “Imagine our city today if we would have allowed political rhetoric and opportunism to guide the way as opposed to thoughtful and rational leadership?”

And Levine is promising the taxpayers of Miami Beach he’s not going to commit to anything until everyone in Miami, the state of Florida and the feds are onboard and on the same page.

“I know the process is never easy, but continued gridlock by policymakers is not an option, he writes. “We cannot allow “grandstanding” for political “points” to slow down the progress that we’ve made. This is why my commitment to you remains unchanged. I will ensure that a transparent process through open dialogue continues and that ZERO tax dollars are committed until we have the full support from our local, state and federal partners and then and ONLY then will this vision be brought back to the commission for their consideration.”

The Miami Beach Mayor also is looking forward to getting in on that major infrastructure bill that President-elect Donald Trump continues to talk about.

“We have a choice, ” he surmises. “We can either continue the empty transportation promises that have plagued our city and county for over 40 years by allowing it to be “demagogued,” or we can continue forward  without  committing funds and/or obligating our city contractually but pushing the process along internally so we are ready, willing and able partners when Miami Dade County commits to a connection across the causeway.”

Levine has not denied reports that he is considering a run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018, and being able to pull off the Beach Corridor project would add to his credentials for him to run a statewide campaign on. Other potential candidates include Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and trial attorney and major Democratic fundraiser John Morgan. 

John Morgan torn on possible governor run, and in no hurry

John Morgan has powerful split emotions about the prospect of running for governor in 2018 as a Democrat, and figures he has at least a year to decide.

Morgan, the 60-year-old Orlando trial attorney who championed Florida’s Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative this year, said others – not he – are pushing for him to run for governor. And while flattered, he insisted it’s not his idea, and he’s not giving it any serious thought yet.

“I don’t think I have to do anything this year, 2017,” Morgan said in an interview with FloridaPolitics.com.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not thinking about it now, if only when he’s driving around, kicking it around in his head.

“The advantage I have, for better worse, is they [any other candidates for governor in 2018] are going to have to spend $25 million at a bare-bones minimum to have any name ID. To me that’s a starting number,” he continued. “And so for better or worse, except for Miami and Fort Lauderdale, I[his Morgan & Morgan law firm featuring him in TV and billboard advertising] am in all those markets, and have been for 30 years or so. I also have the advantage of four years of [campaigning statewide for medical] marijuana, and a very big following. When people come up to me, they thank me for marijuana.”

A group of south Florida politicos, led by Democratic operative Ben Pollara, have put together “For The Governor,” a campaign pushing a petition drive to draft John Morgan for governor, through social media and other communications. Pollara was Morgan’s former campaign manager for United For Care, which ran the successful Amendment 2 campaign this year.

Pollara said he’s in the process of formally incorporating a For The Governor Political Committee and expects to begin raising money.

He and Morgan both stated that they had not discussed the initiative with each other, though Morgan hasn’t dismissed it.

“You’ve got to be careful because our egos can really get us into trouble,” Morgan said. “Everybody says, ‘I like you. I like you. I like you. I want you to do it.’ All of the sudden you like what you are hearing, and all of the sudden you go off on a venture you shouldn’t go off on, for a lot of reasons.

“I’ve got a great life.”

In the interview, Morgan quickly explored several reasons why he wouldn’t dream of running for governor.

* He professes no clear Florida governing platform at this point, other than a strong conviction that something must be done about low wages in Florida. And he’s not convinced that his being governor would be the most effective way for him to address that; he’s exploring another constitutional amendment initiative to do so.

“I would only want to do it [run for governor] if there was something that I thought that I could make a difference in. And what I worry about is, even if I defy all odds, and win, could I even get anything done with a Republican senate and house?” he said.

* He’s very close to U.S. Rep. Gwen Grahamthe most likely Democratic candidate for governor so far, and particularly close with her father, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. And he expressed admiration for other potential Democratic candidates, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn,  and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

* He even likes some potential Republican gubernatorial candidates, citing Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran and former Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, among others.

“If I find someone who inspired me, then I would go, ‘You now what? the state would be in good hands with this person.’ It doesn’t matter if they’re a Republican or Democrat,” Morgan said.

* His business interests are complex on a level approaching Donald Trump’s, and he’s not sure he wants to unwind, disengage or liquify anything. Besides his law firm, which is in 18 Florida cities and eight other states, his business interests including hotels, real estate, shopping centers, and attractions.

* Finally, he’s not crazy about enduring personal attacks and knows his profession and lifestyle leave him and his family wide open to ugly anti-Morgan campaign smears.

“I’ve been on TV for 30 years, so I’ve had people writing mean things to me, calling me with mean things, discussing my fat face, my, you know, whatever, so I’m used to mean things. But with this [draft John Morgan campaign] out there, the meanness out there ramps up a little. So I’m like, ‘Who wants this?'” Morgan said. “I’m used to the one-offs. I’m used to people writing me: ‘You’re an ambulance chaser.’ But I’m not used to this where everybody can weigh in. That’s been kind of unnerving.

“It seems like in politics people believe they have a special license to be meaner than usual. That’s what I’ve found these last few weeks,” he said, adding it bothers him, “Because I like to be liked.”

But Morgan does see reasons to run.

He’s not convinced Graham or the other Democrats can actually win. He’s at a point in his life when he’s contemplating the difference between being “successful” and being “significant.” He takes his victory with the medical marijuana initiative to heart on a humanitarian level. He likes that feeling. And he thinks more must and can be done.

“You know, there are things I believe very fervently. I believe that the real issue out there in America is people are not paid fair wages for a fair day’s work,” he said. “Now I don’t know what the number is. I don’t know what the number is. But I believe peoples’ frustration is, they go out, they do everything right, they put on a uniform, and at the end of the day they’re further behind than they were before.”

Perhaps the answer is another constitutional amendment initiative, one aimed at creating a living wage in Florida, Morgan said.

“I’ve already started researching what that language would look like. It may be that my best bet to do what I want to do would be to have a constitutional amendment. I now know how to navigate that world, after making lots of mistakes the first time around,” Morgan said. “But is $15 too much? Would that pass? What’s the magic number? I don’t know.”

The lessons Morgan draws from 2016 political victors is that voters are rejecting career politicians and the status quo, whether it’s Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica of Winter Park. Morgan is certain he fits the outsider identity. If he ran and won, he said he’d pledge a one-term tenure and donate the governor’s salary to charity.

He believes voters want someone who’s less partisan and more practical. Morgan has backed Republicans in the past and said he certainly would in the future. He even praised Gov. Rick Scott for being single-minded on jobs, and for delivering on that.

But mostly, Morgan said, voters deserve someone with compassion for them, and that’s a mark he believes he has.

“What I think is missing in politics today is compassion. I think it’s too much not about what’s for us but what’s for them,” Morgan said. “I don’t believe somebody should be a non-violent felon, go to jail, and not have their civil rights restored. That’s a crime. I don’t believe drug addiction is a crime. The leader I’m looking for is someone who is compassionate and thinks about people first. And I think that includes the minimum wage.”

Pollara and others pushing the draft-Morgan campaign have many of the same concerns about a Morgan run that Morgan himself expressed. Yet they also have his same concerns about the Democrats’ prospects without Morgan. The next governor will oversee another redistricting, which could lock a party’s power in Florida for another decade, Pollara cautioned.

The draft Morgan effort, he said, is “a product of anxiety we Democrats feel about this upcoming governor’s race. Now we’re looking at 2020 redistricting,” which could lead to a “generation of irrelevance” for Democrats.

Morgan also expressed a clear, proud sense of accomplishment, having pushed medical marijuana into Florida’s constitution.

“I got beat with the marijuana the first go around [in a failed 2014 campaign.] I learned my lessons,” Morgan said. “And I think the people who are supporting e the fact I didn’t quit, and I won, and I didn’t just win, I won in a big way.

“And what I did in four years was more than any legislator has done in the last 40 years.”

Mitch Perry Report for 11.18.16 — John Morgan for the people?

What the hell do you have to lose?

That was, of course, Donald Trump‘s rather crude appeal to black voters in our last national nightmare of a campaign that mercifully concluded 10 days ago.

But that line could be one offered to Florida Democrats, in the wake of the movement to get John Morgan to run for governor in 2018. And the Orlando-based attorney, major Democratic Party fundraiser and grandaddy of medical marijuana released a statement Thursday indicating he’s not dismissing the idea out of hand.

“Before I go down this road any further I need a lot of time to think about it. There are obvious drawbacks and hurdles,” he admitted. “But the initial response in the form of phone calls, emails, and social media postings has been overwhelming. It is humbling.”

No doubt.

Morgan went on to say that unlike any other serious candidate, he doesn’t need to begin raising money to build up this statewide name ID. As he inimitably put it: “Politicians have to sing for their supper. Not me.”

The “for the people” populist says he he’l be jetting off to Maui and St. Bart’s “for the winter with my family” before he decided on deciding anything anytime soon.

Some populist, eh? Well, though there is only one Trump, one of the shibboleths that he may have shattered is that people can be persuaded a wealthy candidate can speak directly to their hearts and minds, and not be hypocritical in doing so.

Personally, I’m hoping that Gwen Graham, Bob Buckhorn, and Philip Levine all compete against Morgan for the 2018 nomination, and may the best person win.

Lord knows it would be interesting …

In other news …

Politics is still all local, and it ain’t over yet. Tampa City Council District 7 candidates Jim Davison and Luis Viera shared endorsement announcements.

Now’s also the time where people who want to be local or state party chairs throw their respective Stetsons (channeling Dan Rather) in the air: Sarasota state committeeman Christian Ziegler wants to be replace Blaise Ingoglia as RPOF chairman.

A couple of hours later, Ingoglia interrupted his vacation to announce that yes, he will run to remain chair of the RPOF.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Jonny Torres hopes to oust Deborah Tamargo as Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee chair.

Medical marijuana is coming — but the rules of the road have yet to be written, so the Tampa City Council followed other municipalities in calling for a moratorium on zoning any dispensaries.

For the Governor? John Morgan says he has ‘much to think about’ before making decision

John Morgan isn’t closing the door on a 2018 gubernatorial bid.

Morgan said he has been overwhelmed by calls for him to run for governor in 2018, but said he needs “a lot of time to think about it” before going down that road.

“I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and love this week,” he wrote in a lengthy post on Medium. “But I have much to think about and do before I jump into a decision of this magnitude.”

The push to draft Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney, to run for governor began earlier this week. In an email to United for Care supporters earlier this week, Ben Pollara, the campaign manager and a Miami-based political consultant, encouraged Floridians encourage Morgan to run.

“I don’t care whether he runs as a Democrat, Republican, Communist, or Klingon, I want John Morgan to be Florida’s next governor. I want John Morgan to be MY next governor,” said Pollara in the email. “Tell John: We need you in Tallahassee. We need a governor who is truly, For The People.”

Morgan said he has a “pretty clear vision of what Florida’s next governor should do,” and outlined a series of issues — including decriminalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour — he’d like to see tackled. He also said he’d like to see the positions of lieutenant governor and agriculture commissioner abolished.

And Morgan said there’s no rush for him to jump in the race. While other candidates might need to announce their intentions early to raise money and build name recognition, Morgan is well-known throughout the state and would be able to “largely self-fund any campaign.”

“These campaigns begin too early and drag on too long,” he wrote. “I could start in 2018 with plenty of time to make my case to The People of Florida.”

The 2018 field is expected to be crowded. Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, has expressed interest, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is expected to throw his hat in the race.

Morgan was one of the main backers of Amendment 2, the medical marijuana amendment, pouring millions of dollars into the campaign. Floridians voted overwhelmingly in support of the amendment earlier this month.

“Passing Amendment 2 will be part of my life story. It was a singular moment for me. Hundreds of thousands will see relief. That is written,” he wrote. “The next chapter, I’m not sure of.”

Gwen Graham still not satisfied after receiving DEP records about sinkhole

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is speaking out critically about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, after she reviewed public records regarding the massive sinkhole at Mosaic’s facility in Polk County.

“Unless there are records that were not produced as required by law, the disclosures show an alarming lack of communication among state regulators about a threat to the health and safety of Florida families and our environment,” said Graham in a statement. “I am very concerned that we had a watchdog agency asleep at the wheel.”

In late August, a 45-foot wide, 300-foot deep sinkhole opened up at Mosaic’s New Wales plant , emptying 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Floridan Aquifer. It was stunning news when it was released to the general public — weeks after the incident occurred.

Since that time, Graham, a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate, has persisted in demanding the DEP and the governor’s office turn over all electronic communication relating to the toxic sinkhole. After weeks of delay, she is now has those records, but says they don’t convey much information.

The emails show that before the sinkhole was revealed in September, nearly all of the electronic communications regarding the incident were email exchanges between the DEP and Mosaic employees. A review of the records from the governor’s office and DEP (which can be read here) contained few internal communications between state employees concerning the sinkhole before it became public. And Graham notes while there were “several” emails from the governor’s office about her questions, there aren’t any “demonstrating concern” over the sinkhole and DEP’s response or examining potential solutions to the problem.

The public information released also includes many emails sent to the DEP from concerned citizens, both in Florida and around the country. There’s also a request from an aide to now-District 19 state Sen. Darryl Rouson contacting the governor’s office to determine if he can sponsor the bill Rick Scott announced in September that would ensure that the public is kept informed of incidents of pollution that may cause a threat to public health and to Florida’s air and water resources.

In her statement, Graham says “it’s also concerning regarding the state’s communications with its own scientists” and refers to one exchange from a geologist, who has spent more than 20 years working for the state, who raised concerns over the lack of information: “I’m working on that facility with EPA but no one told me about it [the sinkhole]. So much for communication.”

“These public records responses indicate communication has broken down within Gov. Scott’s state agencies,” Graham said. “With this kind of threat to Florida families and the environment, the governor’s office and DEP should have been ringing alarm bells and taking swift action. Nothing in these records indicates they were operating with any sense of urgency. Either we are still missing documents, or the state didn’t particularly care. Neither situation is acceptable.”

Joe Henderson: Facing many hurdles, Bob Buckhorn could make a good governor

The rebirth of downtown Tampa brought inevitable speculation that Mayor Bob Buckhorn might parlay it into a shot at the governor’s mansion in 2018. The job obviously has appeal for someone like Buckhorn, who likes a big stage and challenge.

Asking him to tip his hand about a possible run, though, has proved to be a necessary, but ultimately fruitless, endeavor.

As he told Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com Wednesday, “Like a lot of people who are contemplating the future, you have to sort of sift through the carnage of last Tuesday and see what the landscape is, see whether or not there’s a path for victory for Democrats there, whether I’m the guy that can carry that torch, that I can inspire people to follow my lead.”

He then added, “ultimately it’s gotta come down to whether in my gut whether this is something that I want to do.”

Oh, I think a big part of him wants to do it. I also believe Democrats have a path to victory in the race to succeed Rick Scott. Whether Buckhorn can lead his party down this road and win is another question, though.

I like Buckhorn. I like his style. I like what he has done as Tampa’s mayor. I like his determination. I have known him for a long time, dating to his days on the Tampa City Council in the 1990s. I think he would make a good governor.

Whether any of that matters won’t be decided for a while and Buckhorn has a lot of hurdles to overcome, starting with his own party. U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham from Tallahassee has all but declared her intention to run, and high-profile attorney John Morgan might get into the race as well.

Graham is the daughter of one of Florida’s legendary politicians, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Morgan has been on TVs around the state nearly every night for years with his relentless “For the People” slogan, and voters just strongly approved his signature issue — making medical marijuana legal.

Escaping the shadow of either of those two would be a huge challenge for Buckhorn, or anyone else.

Plus, statewide Democrats may have a case of Tampa Bay Fatigue. There have been four races to be Florida’s governor in this century and a Democrat from the Tampa Bay area has been atop the ticket each time — Bill McBride (2002), Jim Davis (2006), Alex Sink (2010) and Charlie Crist (2014).

They all lost.

Buckhorn is a loyal Democrat, though. He went all-in for Hillary Clinton in this year’s election and worked for Barack Obama here before that. He has been outspoken in his disdain for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. That’s all fine, but Clinton lost, Rubio won, and Obama is leaving office.

One thing to keep in mind: Buckhorn isn’t afraid of losing.

He lost in a primary for state House seat in 1992. He finished third out of five candidates running for mayor in 2003. And then there was the humiliating loss to former pro wrestler and first-time candidate Brian Blair in a 2004 county commission race.

He came back to take an upset win for mayor in 2011 and was re-elected without serious opposition.

Buckhorn always says being mayor of Tampa was his dream shot. Whenever I’ve told him it looks like he never sleeps, he responds that there will time to sleep when his second term is up. Whether he decides to postpone that nap to run for governor remains to be seen.

At this point, I don’t like his chances.

But knowing Buckhorn, he will figure out a way to be involved even if he is not on the ballot. He loves this stuff too much.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.17.16 — Will there be a Democrat ready to challenge Nancy Pelosi?

If it were up to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Caucus would be voting for their leadership later today, where she would win another term as House minority leader, since there is no opposition to her leadership role.

Not yet, anyway.

In an ominous note for the 76-year-old representative from San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers at a closed-door meeting earlier this week called on her to delay leadership elections for a couple of weeks.

Although their chances to retake the House last week were always slim, the Democrats did underperform in House races, and the question now is — can the opposition get behind one candidate by the time they do sit down to vote on leadership Nov. 30?

As of now, only Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan from outside of working-class Youngstown has emerged. “Who is the leader that can go into those Southern states, who is the leader that can go into the Midwestern states and begin to pull those voters back in our corner?” Ryan told the Wall Street Journal. He hasn’t officially decided to run. “A guy like me — it doesn’t have to be me — a guy like me could go into the Southern states, and we need someone who can go into every congressional district.”

There are also reports New York Rep. Joe Crowley is also interested in running against Pelosi.

The last time Pelosi was as vulnerable was in the aftermath of the 2010 midterms, when the Democrats were “shellacked,” in the words of Barack Obama.

Working in Pelosi’s favor is her formidable reputation as a fundraiser. She has raised a reported $568 million for fellow Democrats since taking over as House Democratic leader in 2002. Representing San Francisco is literally a turnoff for the same Democrats who worry the party has become a party of professionals and not the working class. The cost of living in SF has exacerbated dramatically in just the past five years due to the explosion of Google and other Silicon Valley workers who’ve chosen to move to the city and commute to the peninsula.

Mind you, this is a different discussion than who will head the Democratic National Committee, where it appears to be a battle between Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and South Carolina Democratic Party chair Jamie Harrison.

In other news …

Bob Buckhorn says it’s time for some serious reflection for Democrats in Florida and around the nation following last week’s election.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel want Steve Bannon out of the White House before he ever gets into it.

After waiting for weeks, Gwen Graham finally receives emails from the DEP regarding the Mosaic sinkhole in Polk County, and still isn’t satisfied.

As mayors and police chiefs from some of the biggest cities in the nation say they’ll continue to shield undocumented immigrants from being detained, Sarasota GOP Congressman Vern Buchanan once again calls on a ban on federal funds for all such municipalities. 

After an eight-year run on the Hillsborough County Commission that even his fiercest critics must acknowledge was extremely productive, Kevin Beckner is officially no longer a politicianafter he served his last day on the board on Wednesday.

Shawn Harrison is backing Jim Davison in the Tampa City Council District 7 race.

A new report says USF’s “Innovation Enterprise” contributes close to $395 million to the Tampa Bay area economy, according to a new report issued Wednesday.

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