Despite sending up trial balloons about running for governor, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., is backing former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham to be Florida’s next governor.
Murphy ended all speculation on Thursday--which included running with former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., as his running mate--and threw his support behind Graham. While he beat then U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., in a contest that drew national attention in 2012, Murphy is best known for his failed attempt to knock off U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in 2016.
At a media event in Pembroke Pines, Murphy announced his endorsement of Graham whose father--Bob Graham who served two terms as governor and three terms in the U.S. Senate.--was in attendance.
“I have decided not to enter the race for governor because there is one Democratic candidate already demonstrating the leadership Florida needs and fighting for the values we share — and that Democrat is Gwen Graham,” Murphy said. “I’m proud to support Gwen because she’s determined to expand access to affordable health care in Florida, will always stand up to protect Florida’s environment, and will finally give our public schools the attention and leadership our children, families and teachers deserve.
“Gwen is also the only candidate in this race who took on and beat an incumbent Republican — along with the NRA, Koch Brothers and Washington establishment,” Murphy added. “She’s proven she knows what it takes to win — and she is the leader Florida Democrats need to end 20 years of one-party Republican rule in Tallahassee.”
“I’m proud to call Patrick Murphy a close friend and am honored to have his support. In Congress, we worked together to ban oil drilling off Florida’s beaches and to restore the Everglades,” Graham said. “I was proud to support him in his campaign against Marco Rubio and, as governor, I will work with Patrick to restore our promise to public schools, protect our environment and build an economy that works for every Floridian.”
Graham will debate three of the other Democrats in the race this weekend. While billionaire Jeff Greene, who entered the race earlier this month will not be at the debate, Graham will join Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Central Florida businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine at the event.
Geoff Burgan, a spokesman for Gillum, jabbed Murphy over the endorsement. "Does it come with David Jolly's endorsement too?" Burgan asked.