Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is walking back comments she made last week regarding the possibility of including a Republican on her ticket.
In a report by Politico published Monday morning, Graham told the Miami-based “Strange Days” podcast last week that she would be open to the idea of running with “someone who can help me govern.” She specifically acknowledged that person could be “friend” and former GOP Congressman David Jolly.
But in a tweet posted on Graham’s Twitter site Monday afternoon, Graham said that if she’s wins the Democratic primary, her running mate would also be a Democrat.
For lieutenant governor, I will choose a Democrat who reflects my progressive values: a woman's right to choose, supporting public schools, raising the minimum wage, fighting climate change, expanding health care with a public option, and passing bold gun safety legislation.
— Gwen Graham (@GwenGraham) May 14, 2018
The idea of a bipartisan ticket that specifically included Jolly as a lieutenant governor, was first floated last month by another former Democratic Congressman, Patrick Murphy. Murphy has said his supporters are encouraging him to enter the race for governor. A poll commissioned by Murphy showed voters liked the idea of a split ticket and a Murhpy-Jolly campaign would find itself near the top of the race.
In her interview on the podcast, Graham said she would even be open to the idea of having Murphy as a running mate.
“I see my lieutenant governor selection as someone who’s going to be right by my side helping me get this state back on the right path,” Graham told the podcast’s host, Fernand Amandi. “And so Patrick would certainly fit that definition, as would David, as would all the other candidates for governor on the Democratic ticket at the moment. So it’s really going to be for me a thorough analysis of who can bring the most to help make the biggest difference in the state of Florida.”
Graham’s apparent willingness to consider a split ticket brought renewed criticism from supporters of her opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Gillum and his supporters question Graham’s claims of being a progressive. They characterize Graham as being more conservative.
“It’s beyond frustrating that the self-described ‘very conservative’ Gwen Graham is already considering splitting the ticket to run with the GOP, especially with an energized Democratic base ready to vote Republicans out,” said one of Gillum’s top liberal surrogates, Orlando Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.
After apparently giving some thought about her views on a split ticket, Graham decided to stick with her party values and pledged to stick with a fellow Democrat to be her choice for lieutenant governor is she wins the primary.