Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, the first Hispanic mayor of Miami and one of the most prominent Democrats who backed Republican Rick Scott’s gubernatorial bid in 2010, announced on Tuesday that he is backing former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., for governor.
“On June 20, 1782, the Great Seal of the United States was adopted by an Act of Congress. On that seal was the de facto motto for our country, ‘E Pluribus Unum’ which means, ‘Out of Many, One’. Now, on August 28, 2018, Florida’s Democratic voters have a chance to vote for the gubernatorial candidate, who I believe most offers Floridians the opportunity to come together, to bring us ‘out of the many, to one.’ That winning candidate, and my choice for governor, is Gwen Graham,” Ferre said in his endorsement.
“Integrity is going to be the issue in the November general election, and Gwen has it,” Ferre added. “She has proven herself to be a public servant of highest integrity, whose deep roots and love for our state guide her actions. Her leadership style will bring the many sides together to help us find real working solutions to the challenges that face Floridians of all walks of life, now, and in the next four years. I urge you to join me in supporting Gwen Graham for governor in the August primary, and again, in November of 2018.”
“Throughout his career in public service, Mayor Ferre has encouraged people of widely different views and philosophies to work together in the name of the common good and progress,” Graham said. “He helped develop Miami into the major American city it is today and has also worked tirelessly for the people of Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin America. It is an honor to have his endorsement.”
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Ferre, now 83, served in the Florida House during the 1960s. He served as mayor of Miami from 1973 until 1985 and later was on the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners. Ferre’s most recent attempts at political comebacks have not been successful, failing in a bid to be mayor again in 2001 and carrying 5 percent in the 2010 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.
When first named by Scott to the Transportation Commission in 2011, Ferre ranked as one of the most high-profile Democrats appointed by the Republican governor. Ferre had broken with his party to endorse Scott during the 2010 election cycle, backing the Republican candidate over Democratic nominee former state CFO Alex Sink.
Ferre returned to the Democratic in 2014 when he endorsed former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich for governor. But Ferre held his fire and did not attack Scott as he endorsed Rich. Rich came up short in the August primary to former Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who abandoned the GOP to run for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation in 2010 before joining the Democrats after the 2012 elections. When Ferre entered the Democratic Senate primary in the 2010 election cycle, Crist was the favorite for the Republican nomination. After Crist defeated Rich, Ferre came back to Scott, endorsing him and even starring in a Spanish-language TV ad the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) launched in the the final weeks of the 2014 campaign.Ferre appeared in the ad with former Gov. Luis Fortu, R-Puerto Rico.
Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, billionaire Jeff Greene, businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine in the Democratic primary.