The race for governor is resulting in an apparent rift between two Tallahassee elected officials.
An endorsement in the Democratic race for governor is raising questions about the relationship between Tallahassee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, and Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer.
Ziffer, who also serves as the president of the Florida League of Cities, announced Wednesday morning that he is endorsing Gwen Graham in the race for governor.
“Gwen Graham has a proven record of standing up for Florida families — as a local PTA volunteer, as a public school official, and representing us in Congress,” Ziffer said in a statement that was sent out by the Graham campaign. “She also is a fierce defender of home rule and strongly supported local communities in their fight against Fracking in Florida. Gwen defeated an incumbent, NRA-endorsed, tea party Congressman and is a fighter who’s proven she can win the big battles. I am proud to offer her my most enthusiastic endorsement for governor.”
The Gillum camp didn’t waste anytime firing back at Ziffer and Graham.
“Gwen Graham’s a self-described “very conservative Democrat” and voted to weaken Dodd-Frank provisions, while Gil Ziffer voted against “Ban the Box” legislation in the City Commission and didn’t back the Mayor’s renewed push to fight the gun lobby following the shooting in Parkland,” responded Geoff Burgan, Gillum’s communications director. “We never sought his endorsement, and would not have accepted given these strong policy differences.”
Burgan’s statement also pointed out “that two of Graham’s colleagues in Congress have endorsed us: Rep. Alcee Hastings and Rep. Frederica Wilson, and that Gravis Marketing poll that shows Graham dropping to 3rd.”
Ziffer’s follows Graham’s pledge made on Tuesday to use her “legal resources as governor to support local governments challenging the state’s firearm preemption law with common-sense gun safety regulations.”
In making his endorsement, Ziffer joined Leon County Commissioners John Dailey and Kristin Dozier in announcing their support for Graham.
In his response, Burgan attached a list of federal, state and local officials who have endorsed Gillum.