Gwen Graham Archives - Page 7 of 29 - Florida Politics

Mitch Perry Report for 7.29.16 — Goodbye from Philadelphia

Good morning,

Well, I’m glad it just started raining in Philadelphia, because I didn’t set an alarm, and a plane awaits to go to whisk me to Tampa in a few hours, so not much time for any insights from this week. Let’s just say this: When Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American soldier slain in Iraq, stared at the camera and Donald Trump and said, “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law,'” it was an incredibly powerful moment.

There were actually a lot of them last night leading up to Hillary Clinton giving her acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee for president.

That included the drama of Bernie Sanders supporters in the hall calling out “no more war” as Gen. John Allen gave a fierce endorsement for Clinton. Anyway, really, there’s no time to thinks, so …

In other news:

Before the main event, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a speech invoking the spirit of his late father, Mario Cuomo.

There’s been a whole lot of Donald Trump trash talking this week in Tallahassee, and in the Florida Delegation Breakfasts, comparisons between Trump and Rick Scott were plentiful. Gwen Graham parroted Michael Bloomberg in saying the two represent the “con men” wing of the GOP, while Howard Dean went there with his “neanderthal nincompoops” line.

Activist Lauren Book is headed for the state Senate, and the Broward County Democrat challenged members of the delegation yesterday to ask why they traveled so far to be a part of the DNC yesterday.

Janet Cruz, the Tampa House Democrat and incoming Minority Leader in Tallahassee, believes the Dems can flip six House seats from red to blue this fall.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told Florida Democrats he’ll individually sign over 206,000 forms to allow ex-felons get the right to vote this year, undoubtedly making them jealous they don’t have a governor who would do the same.

Donald Trump is mentioned more often than Hillary Clinton among Florida Facebook users, I learned at the convention.

Hillary Clinton aide says Bernie Sanders backers to come around

The Latest on the Democratic National Convention and 2016 presidential campaign. (all times EDT):

7:10 p.m.

A Hillary Clinton campaign adviser says he’s not worried about winning over Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

“Most of them are going to come around.”

That’s what John Podesta thinks.

Podesta says he knows there are some in the Sanders camp who are still “emotional” and wish Clinton didn’t win more votes than the Vermont senator in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But Podesta says most of Sanders’ supporters are looking at the election as a choice between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Podesta spoke after some Sanders delegates at the party’s convention wore neon yellow shirts to protest Clinton’s nomination.

6:50 p.m.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters are wearing glow-in-the-dark shirts on the final night of Democrats convention in Philadelphia.

They say it’s a way to remind presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that she hasn’t brought them all on board yet.

For Clinton, the silent protest probably is preferable to the heckling and booing from that marked the early days of the convention.

Sanders delegate Davena Norris says her bright shirt is meant to send a message that more needs to be done to curb the influence of money in politics.

6:45 p.m.

Donald Trump is campaigning in Iowa and largely avoiding the topic that earned him lots of criticism this week.

Only a day ago Trump encouraged Russia to find and make public missing emails deleted by his Democratic presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s comments raised the question of whether he was condoning foreign government hacking of U.S. computers and the public release of information stolen from political adversaries.

Trump was condemned by Clinton and even some of his fellow Republicans. Running mate Mike Pence warned of “serious consequences” if Russia interfered in the election.

Trump has since insisted he was being sarcastic.

At the Iowa rally, he did say he wanted better relations with Russia and joked that writing letters was more secure than “putting something on a computer.”

5:40 p.m.

Donald Trump says “a lot of lies are being told” about him in the speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week.

The Republican presidential nominee is joking about it during a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.

“Boy, I’m getting hit” by Democrats – he says. “I guess they have to do their thing.”

Trump is criticizing Democrats for not talking about terrorism or laying out a plan to aid the economy.

4:25 p.m.

Die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters from Oregon’s delegation say they’re demanding a nationally televised apology at the Democratic National Convention before Hillary Clinton takes the stage Thursday night to accept the presidential nomination.

The matter involves leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that indicated party officials were biased against the Vermont senator.

The DNC has apologized and the party’s leader, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is resigning her post.

But Melissa Pancurak tells The Associated Press that those steps don’t go far enough. She says the Oregon delegates are part of a coalition of Sanders supporters working to get their demand to appropriate DNC officials before Clinton’s speech.

4:20 p.m.

Donald Trump’s stand on abortion has been inconsistent, but his running says Trump would be a “pro-life president.”

Mike Pence is campaigning in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he makes clear he opposes abortion. And the Indiana governor tells a town hall rally, “I don’t apologize for it.”

Pence drew the ire of abortion rights advocates in March after he signed a law banning abortions that were being sought because of fetal genetic defects. That law has since been blocked pending the outcome of a court challenge.

Pence says Trump would appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court who would send the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling to the “ash heap of history.”

4 p.m.

“Disrespectful.”

That’s what Elijah Cummings thinks of liberal supporters of Bernie Sanders who chanted an anti-trade slogan during the Maryland congressman’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

But Cummings says he’s not upset about it because he’s a veteran of civil rights protests and understands the passion that drove the mostly young delegates to shout over his speech Monday.

Cummings says in an interview that most of those who were shouting probably didn’t know he worked with Sanders to draft the Democratic platform and he’s “never voted for a trade bill in 20 years in Congress.”

He says more than 100 people have apologized to him for the outbursts.

2:37 p.m.

President Barack Obama‘s mention of “fascists” and “homegrown demagogues” in his convention speech wasn’t aimed at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

That’s what White House press secretary Josh Earnest is telling reporters the day after Obama argued for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s election over Trump.

Obama said “anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.”

Obama had criticized Trump several times before arriving at that particular line in the speech, including saying that American power “doesn’t come from a self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way.”

Trump said in his acceptance speech at last week’s GOP convention that “I alone can fix” a political system he says is rigged.

2:19 p.m.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is giving Hillary Clinton credit for her work on behalf of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Giuliani was asked at a Republican Party briefing Thursday in Philadelphia whether he took issue with the Democratic convention speakers who’d been praising Clinton. Giuliani said she was “enormously supportive and helpful.” Clinton was a U.S. senator from New York at the time.

He says Clinton “has a right to tell people that she worked hard on behalf of the 9/11 families.” He adds that, “She did.”

But Giuliani adds that “on all other aspects she fails the test.” Clinton and Democrats, he says, have “not done anything to prevent another attack.”

1:50 p.m.

This time, Bill Clinton will be the adoring spouse, rapt and smiling when the cameras cut away from the candidate in the spotlight.

He’ll be the He in the VIP box watching as She accepts the presidential nomination at the Democratic convention on Thursday.

It’s one small step in the role reversal Americans will need to get used to if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.

Already, satires and spoofs are circulating, taking note of Bill’s fashion choices, accessories and hair style. How about that fetching pantsuit! And that nice head of hair! Whose shoes is he wearing?

After all, that’s what political wives have come to expect.

Bill Clinton, utterly comfortable in his own skin, seems to be just fine with trading places with his wife, the former first lady.

10:28 a.m.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says the CIA should give Donald Trump “fake intelligence briefings” because he can’t be trusted.

The Nevada lawmaker tells reporters in Philadelphia that “they shouldn’t give him anything that means anything because you can’t trust him.”

Reid was responding to Trump’s call for Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

He says he’s sure the agency is aware of his suggestion.

He also says Trump may have violated the Logan Act that bars unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.

9:56 a.m.

The North Carolina Republican Party has removed a tweet criticizing Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine for wearing a pin honoring his son’s military service.

The tweet posted during Kaine’s Democratic National Convention speech Wednesday night said Kaine “wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag. Shameful.”

The pin in question has a single blue star against a white background outlined in red. It’s the same design as the Service Flag, which is reserved for families who have members serving in the military during wartime. The flag of Honduras has five stars against a blue and white striped background. Kaine’s son is a Marine set to be deployed to Europe.

The party hasn’t responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Joe Henderson: DNC Day 3 — organization is everything

Florida Democrats have long since undertaken the groundwork to deliver the Sunshine State to Hillary Clinton in November. In fact, you could say that began in 2008 and continued four years later when Barack Obama carried Florida in both of his presidential campaigns.

The local operatives, so critical in big elections, who turned out the vote for Obama have stayed busy trying to do the same for Clinton.

“They never left,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. “Some of the players might be different now, but the model is still the same.”

That organization stands in stark contrast now to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who appears to have little visible infrastructure in place here.

Clinton has a major head start on him and that could the difference in what shapes up as a closely contested contest.

The work of turning out the vote will take on a new urgency after the balloons drop at the end of Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night. Buckhorn, who has solidly been in the Clinton camp, figures to be an important part of all that.

“Organization is everything,” Buckhorn said. “In Florida presidential races it’s all about the turnout and not so much about TV or radio (ads). Building connections matter. Field organization matters. Gathering data is important. It becomes a combination of analytics and data mining. Marry the two of those and you’ve got something.”

Clinton is popular among Florida Democrats.

In 2008, she received 49 percent of the primary vote to 32 percent for Obama, who by that point was well on his way to winning the nomination. In the March primary this year, Clinton nearly doubled up Bernie Sanders 64 percent to 33 percent.

But Trump received 1.079 million votes in the GOP state primary, nearly as many as Clinton’s 1.1 million.

Even given Trump’s renowned penchant for outrageous and, as Democrats charged after his suggestion that Russia hack more of Hillary’s emails, treasonous behavior, polls show a tight contest between the two for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

“You never underestimate anybody,” Buckhorn said. “The proof is in the bodies. Organizing means putting those bodies on the road, making those phone calls, knocking the doors. I haven’t seen any evidence of the Trump people doing that (in Florida).”

WEDNESDAY TAKEAWAYS: That was a show of force Wednesday night by the star-packed Democratic lineup.

President Barack Obama, as expected, set Clinton up perfectly to be the right person to accept the baton of leadership from him. I thought former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, took Trump apart on The Donald’s own playing field in the world of business.

But for the star of the night, give me Vice President Joe Biden. Who else but Biden could call Trump’s claims “a bunch of malarkey” and turn it into a rallying cry. The hashtag “malarkey” quickly started trending on Twitter and prompting many clever memes – the best of which was a signature red Trump ball cap with the word “Malarkey” emblazed instead of his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Sitting through vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s speech was like sitting through a warmup band you don’t really want to hear before the main show begins. I’ll give a tepid thumbs-up to his mocking “Believe Me” impersonation of Trump, but he should have stopped it after one or two times.

I mean, it wasn’t THAT funny.

So it’s all there for Hillary now to see if she can convince the undecided Americans that she is best for the job. Stick to the end for the balloon drop. Balloon drops are cool.

Gwen Graham says Rick Scott, Donald Trump from ‘con man’ wing of GOP

Tallahassee-based Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham spent a few minutes unfavorably comparing Florida Gov. Rick Scott to Donald Trump while addressing state Democrats in Philadelphia Thursday morning.

“Make no mistake, Rick Scott and Donald Trump are cut from the same wing of the Republican Party,” she said. “Not the conservative wing, but the con man wing, and if you want to know what can happen to America, just look at what’s happened to our beautiful state.”

Graham said even though Florida has become the third-most-populous state during Scott’s six-year reign in Tallahassee, the state ranks 38th in wages, something she says he boasts about while on out-of-state recruiting trips.

“I can tell you that Florida workers are as hard working as anywhere in the country, and they deserve a raise!”

The first-term representative has already declared she is considering a run for governor in 2018. In fact, she used a teleprompter (as did some other speakers on Thursday) in giving her 10-minute-plus address in the fourth-floor conference room at the Marriott, home of the Florida Delegation breakfasts all week long at the Democratic National Convention.

Graham continued to refer to questionable Trump comments or actions and turned that back to Scott, such as on public education. But she reserved her most biting criticism for the governor’s environmental policy, calling his DEP the “Department of Environmental Pollution,” and saying just this week he had voted to allow more cancer-causing chemicals in the state’s water supply.

She was referring to the state’s Environmental Regulation Commission vote to approve a proposal by state regulators that would impose new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the state, and change the regulations on 43 other chemicals.

Although Scott won’t be on the ballot in ’18, Graham sounded like she was definitely going to be, giving praise to FPD Chair Allison Tant and name-checking various state caucuses.

She then brought it back to why Hillary Clinton was the obvious choice for the country this year.

“Do you want a president who will build up our economy, or do you want to tear it down?” she asked, before shouting out, “Build it up!” She went through a call-and-response a few more times, with limited enthusiasm from the weary crowd. Several people did get up to give her a standing ovation as she departed the stage.

With Graham, Bob Buckhorn and Philip Levine addressing the delegates this week, it looks like the low-level campaign for Florida Democrats’ hearts, minds — and money  — has begun.

Philip Levine touting streetcar project to statewide Democrats

Whenever folks in Florida begin discussing potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates in 2018, the name Gwen Graham always appears in the first paragraph.

But with more than two years before the electorate will decide who their nominee might be, a number of other elected officials are now on the clock to begin making their case, and there’s no better showcase than in front of the state’s delegation of Dems in Philadelphia this week at the Democratic National Convention.

Although talk of Bob Buckhorn pursuing such a plan had quieted of late, the Tampa mayor put on a strong performance Wednesday in front of Florida’s delegates. When it came to firing up the crowd, Buckhorn took top honors. Another mayor who spoke Wednesday before state Democrats is Philip Levine, the ambitious Miami Beach mayor who has been networking hard over the past few months, and has a resume to boast about to statewide progressives.

In his short address, Levine humble bragged that he’s known Bill Clinton since the 1990s, and said he was motivated by the former president to ultimately leave the private sector and enter the political arena, which he did was he was first elected in 2013.

Levine’s work on infrastructure to deal with the deleterious effects of climate change on his city has been well noted in the national media. “We’ve taken the action to get things done,” he said. “And I think today across the country people are looking for a leader that has a background of actually getting things done.”

The mayor also said he’s having a meeting at the end of this week with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx regarding a light-rail streetcar project that would move passengers along the MacArthur Causeway across Biscayne Bay. The city began moving ahead with an environmental study on the project last December.

Working with consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates, the city estimates the South Beach streetcar will cost about $387 million to build and $16 million per year to operate. The system would be expected to carry a minimum daily ridership of about 20,000, reports the Miami Herald.

And Levine made sure to mention his proposal to raise the minimum living wage in Miami gradually up to $15 an hour, fulfilling the goals of the SEIU’s “Fight for $15” campaign. He says he’s ready to be sued by Gov. Rick Scott for making the move, which violates a 2004 law implemented when Floridians approved raising the minimum wage at that time. The Scott administration has remained silent on the issue until now.

Club for Growth Action slams CD 2 candidate Neal Dunn

A new ad from Club for Growth Action is slamming north Florida congressional candidate Neal Dunn as a “Charlie Crist Republican.”

“Neal Dunn is a former lobbyist who donated to Democrats, and is now running as a Republican,” Club for Growth Action president David McIntosh said in a statement.

Club for Growth Action is the super PAC affiliated with Club for Growth, an economic conservative group.

Club for Growth PAC, another separate entity, has endorsed Republican Mary Thomas for the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Thomas was a state government lawyer in the Crist administration.

“Dunn even supported expanding Obamacare,” McIntosh added.

Though Dunn has been a registered lobbyist for the Florida Medical Association, he currently opposes the Affordable Care Act, calling it “a total disaster” in his own recent ad.

“But voters do have a great economic conservative in Mary Thomas,” McIntosh said. “Mary will fight to cut taxes in Washington and will work to replace Obamacare with patient-centered health care.”

The seat is now held by Democrat Rep. Gwen Graham, but was redrawn after redistricting into a much more Republican-leaning area.

Graham has said she will bow out after one term in Congress and consider running for governor in 2018.

Republicans vying for the seat now are Dunn, a Panama City urological surgeon; Thomas, currently general counsel of the Department of Elder Affairs under Gov. Rick Scott; and former federal prosecutor Ken Sukhia.

The new Club for Growth Action ad can be viewed here:

Gwen Graham proposing school safety legislation

Today, Rep. Gwen Graham met with law enforcement, teachers, parents and students at Tallahassee City Hall to discuss making schools safer, and she announced new legislation to meet that goal.

Graham’s legislation, the Secure our Schools Act, would authorize the Department of Justice to issue grants to local school districts to install “SOS buttons” in classrooms. These buttons provide an alternative and immediate means of notifying law enforcement and first responders in case of an emergency.

Graham attributed her motivation for the legislation to recent tragedies around the country and abroad: “In recent years, we’ve seen far too many heartbreaking and shocking episodes of violence.  We must work together to make our country and Florida safer. This legislation will help better secure our schools from violence and potential acts of terrorism.”

Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood said, “The safety and security of our children is paramount. It is a privilege to be part of the discussion with Rep. Graham on this relevant and necessary legislation.”

Several panelists at the roundtable said this technology could especially be helpful for Florida’s rural schools, where less law enforcement officers are tasked with covering a greater amount of area.

“We need to make sure every student is safe, whether they live in a city or in rural areas,” Graham said. “This legislation will help schools and law enforcement communicate better in every community.”

“When my daughter is at school, I want to know that she is safe and protected,” said Adam Montgomery, a local parent in attendance. “I’m proud of Congresswoman Graham for introducing the SOS button legislation; this technology is a great step in school safety.”

Students from FSU’s Master in Applied American Politics program helped plan and carry out the event. Student Vanessa Butwell said the roundtable was informative. “It was powerful to watch Rep. Graham sit down with her constituents and listen to their concerns on such an important issue. This is how you lead, by listening.”

The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican from Illinois.

Gwen Graham praises release of 28 pages of 9/11 intelligence

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, a Tallahassee Democrat, praised the Obama administration’s decision Friday to make public 28 pages of a joint congressional panel that investigated intelligence community activities before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, Gwen’s father and co-chairman of the congressional panel, fought more than a decade for release of the documents, which highlight Saudi Arabia’s role in the incidents. Gwen Graham, when elected to the U.S. House in 2014, carried on her father’s fight, co-sponsoring House Resolution 14 urging the president to declassify the documents.

“I’m proud to have fought with my father and a bipartisan group of lawmakers for the release of the 28 pages,” Graham said. “Today’s news is a victory for the families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and for all Americans.

“I believe the declassified information will help us better understand the challenges we face and the enemies we must defeat to make our country safer. In this age of terror, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to anyone or any government that supports or sympathizes with terrorists.”

Gwen Graham fires back at Rick Scott, calls for special session to deal with algae disaster

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is responding forcefully — with a call for a special session of the Florida Legislature — to a letter written by Florida Gov. Rick Scott regarding the federal government’s role in the developing crisis along the state’s Treasure Coast, where algae blooms are creating an emergency-level natural disaster.

Earlier this week, Scott wrote Reps. Vern Buchanan and Alcee Hastings, chairs of the Florida congressional delegation, insisting the federal government needs to do something to help the state, including funding the maintenance and repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

”Florida is without a doubt the most beautiful state in the country with some of the world’s most incredible natural treasures. We need your help in protecting these natural treasures and the millions of Florida families who are being impacted by potentially harmful algal blooms,” wrote Scott in the letter.

“Please utilize your position in Congress to take immediate action by working to ensure Florida receives the federal emergency declaration and that the federal government fund the maintenance and repair to the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike. These repairs would safely hold water to prevent unnatural Lake Okeechobee discharges that are leading to the increased formation of algae,” Scott added.

While Scott was overtly appealing to the congressional delegation in an attempt to secure federal action, at least one delegation member recoiled.

Graham, the current Democratic U.S. Representative from Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, took Scott to task in a letter shared first with FloridaPolitics.com.

Graham writes she is “disappointed to see that, instead of advocating comprehensive solutions to this disaster,” Scott’s letter blames President Barack Obama and advocates only a partial solution — maintaining and repairing Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover Dike.

Graham spoke to a number of stakeholders — the Indian Riverkeeper and business owners on the Treasure Coast — and claims they are “frustrated with [the] state government and hungry for [Scott] to show leadership on this issue.”

The algae bloom, writes Graham, is yet another data point in a troubling pattern.

“Your administration has ignored sea level rise, weakened water-quality standards, and dismantled environmental standards,” Graham continued.

After advancing the idea that Scott could be the first governor in modern times who “actively worked to harm Florida’s environment,” Graham offered a call to action, with four tangible steps Scott could take to atone for his neglect of Florida’s natural resources.

The first step: to call a special session of the Legislature, focused on “short- and long-term solutions to improve our water quality and prevent future algae blooms,” channeling the “bipartisan outrage” into “real solutions” to the current crisis.

The second step: to replace “political appointees” on the Southwest Florida Water Management Board with “scientists, engineers, and conservationists.”

“Our government shouldn’t place a developer in charge of protecting our water,” Graham wrote.

The third step: work with the Legislature and local governments to clean up and replace failing septic tanks. A special session, wrote Graham, would allow for legislative “focus on this issue while the waters are still green.”

The fourth step, meanwhile, involves following through on Amendment One, to use money to buy land “south of the lake and restore the river of grass to the Everglades.”

“We must restore Florida’s water flow to the way God and nature intended,” wrote Graham, “by sending the water south.”

Strengthening the dike, wrote Graham, isn’t the answer. A tropical storm could result in the Army Corps of Engineers having to release millions of gallons of water into the Indian and Caloosahatchie Rivers. And if a storm were to hit the lake directly, Graham added, an “even greater natural disaster” could result.

“Passing the buck to the federal government isn’t the answer,” Graham wrote in her concluding paragraph, before committing to help Gov. Scott “and any other leader end this crisis.”

Letter to Governor Scott_Page_1Letter to Governor Scott_Page_2Letter to Governor Scott_Page_3Gov. Scott Letter to Congressional Delegation_Page_1Gov. Scott Letter to Congressional Delegation_Page_2

Gwen Graham backs Patrick Murphy in U.S. Senate race

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, a likely 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate and one of the leaders of the party’s moderate wing in Florida, is endorsing U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s U.S. Senate bid, his campaign announced Monday.

The endorsement continues Murphy’s sweep of establishment and moderate Democratic supporters in his effort to defeat progressive-wing candidates U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and lawyer Pam Keith of Miami in the Aug. 30 primary.

Murphy, of Jupiter, already had received the endorsement of Graham’s father, former Florida governor and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

Both Murphy and Gwen Graham entered Congress by upsetting incumbent, tea party-supported Republican U.S. congressmen, Murphy in 2012 and Graham in 2014.

“I am proud to support my friend Patrick to be Florida’s next U.S. senator. When my father was Florida’s senator, I so admired his willingness to roll up his sleeves and not stop fighting until the job was done. I see that same leadership quality in Patrick,” she stated in a release issued by Murphy’s campaign.

“He’s already fighting for our Florida values in Washington, and I have no doubt he’ll bring that same tireless work ethic to the Senate,” she continued. “This will be a senator who puts Florida families first. In Congress, Patrick and I have worked together to protect the Everglades and the Apalachicola Bay. It hasn’t been easy, but at every turn, Patrick has never lost sight of what truly matters. That’s the type of leadership Floridians deserve in the Senate and I’m proud to support his campaign.”

Murphy’s challenge became greater last month when incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio decided at the last moment to seek re-election. That chased away almost all the other Republicans who were running for the seat, with the exception of Bradenton businessman Carlos Beruff.

Graham told FloridaPolitics.com last month that she wants to run for governor of Florida in 2018, though she would delay a decision on that until after her one-term tenure in Congress ends this January.

“Gwen represents the best of our state — hardworking, honest, and always working for what is best for Florida families,” Murphy stated. “Her support means the world to me and I look forward to working together to continue standing up for our shared values.”

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