Despite her reputation as a moderate, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., announced on Tuesday that her old boss former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., was backing her bid to be Florida’s next governor.
After her father, former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham, D-Fla., ended his presidential bid and backed Dean, Gwen Graham worked for the former Vermont governor’s liberal presidential campaign back in the 2004 election cycle. After Dean dropped out, Gwen Graham went on to work for then U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who won the Democratic nod but lost to President George W. Bush that year.
Dean stressed that he and Graham stood together on issues ranging from health-care to foreign policy.
"I got to know Gwen more than 10 years ago when she joined our fight for progressive values,” Dean said on Tuesday. We worked together for universal healthcare, to end the Iraq War, and to empower the American people. I am proud to give Gwen Graham my full support today because she has spent her life fighting for those same shared values.
"Gwen's values are rooted in her experience,” Dean added. “As a mother, Gwen showed character volunteering as a PTA president to enrich her community. As a public school official, she showed dedication working to give teachers fair contracts. As a member of Congress, she showed leadership defending the Affordable Care Act, fighting for common sense gun safety and protecting Florida's environment.
"As governor, she will fight for a public option to expand health-care, ban assault weapons, and defend Florida families from Donald Trump's attacks,” Dean continued.
Dean pointed to his record at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which included having his party compete in all 50 states, a strategy that paid off as Democrats did well in the 2006 and 2008 elections. The former Vermont governor said that Graham followed a similar game plan when she defeated U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., in 2014, one of the few highlights for Democrats in that election cycle.
"Just as we implemented a winning 50-state strategy at the DNC, Gwen went everywhere and asked everyone for their vote in 2014,” Dean said. “Running for governor, she's doing it again — standing up for our values and sharing them with every voter in all of Florida's 67 counties. That's how you win elections."
"I am honored to call Howard Dean a friend and to have his support. I joined his grassroots campaign to fight for progressive values, and I'm still fighting for them today," Graham said. "After 20 years of one-party Republican rule and with Donald Trump in the White House, Florida families need a governor who will work for them. I will be their voice in Tallahassee and work to restore our promise to public schools, expand access to health-care, and pass common-sense gun safety."
Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and businessman Chris King in the Democratic primary.
READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS