While Florida Governor Rick Scott still has over a year and a half to go before his second term is up, the race to replace him is starting to get crowded and added another candidate on Tuesday – this one with a familiar name for natives of the Sunshine State.
Gwen Graham, a former member of Congress from the Tallahassee area, announced she will seek the Democratic nomination at a press conference in Miami Gardens. Graham is a native of Miami-Dade County who moved to Tallahassee as a teen when her father, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, was elected in the late 1970’s.
Graham chose to make her announcement next to Miami Carol City Senior High School - where her father performed one of his famous "workdays" during the mid-1970's before becoming a two-term governor. She plans on doing the same time of events to help raise her profile around the state.
“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.”
The one-term member of Congress, who was elected from a largely Republican district in 2014, criticized the economic and jobs policies of Scott as well as the environmental policies of President Donald Trump.
Graham would become the second high profile member of the party to announce they are running. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who was also born and raised in Miami, announced last month that he was entering the race. They would be joined by Chris King, a housing investor from the Orlando area, on the Democratic side.
For Republicans, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced he will run to keep the party in the Governor’s Mansion – a spot they have occupied since 1998. Putnam will hold a rally next week in his Polk County hometown of Bartow, an area he once represented in Congress.
Scott, who was first elected as a political outsider in 2010, is term limited and cannot seek reelection. However, he is eligible to run again in 2022 if he desired under the Florida Constitution.
Both Graham and Gillum would make history if they were elected to the state’s top office. Graham would be the first woman chosen for the job, while Gillum would be the first African-American.