Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham continues to rally support from Democrats across Florida in an effort to pressure her opponent, Andrew Gillum, to stop what she calls “negative attacks” against her by a political action committee that supports Gillum.
The latest to come out in support of Graham are former Florida Democratic Party Chairs Rod Smith, Karen Thurman, and Terrie Brady.
“This is the type of unethical, disgusting trick we’ve come to expect from Republicans in Tallahassee. To see Andrew Gillum embrace secret-money attacks is disappointing and disqualifies him from earning my support,” said Smith. “If he is truly the progressive Democrat he claims to be, Gillum should immediately call for his secret-money allies to immediately take this ad off the air.”
Earlier this week, as reported by Politico, a political committee called The Collective, which supports African-American candidates, launched a nearly $800,000 ad campaign in the West Palm Beach television market and on cable networks across the state.
The ad attacks Graham for being a fake progressive candidate who voted against President Barack Obama on a number of occasions, including a vote on Obamacare, when Graham was in Congress, a claim Gillum has repeatedly used in his campaign.
“Gwen Graham says she is the progressive candidate for governor but while in Congress she voted against President Obama 52 percent of the time,” the narrator on the ad says.
“I am disgusted that Andrew Gillum would allow a secret-money group to run a false attack against a fellow Democrat,” Graham said.
The rift between the Graham and Gillum campaigns turned even nastier Thursday when a Gillum supporter, columnist Leslie Wimes, called Graham a “skank” in a column posted on Sunshine State News.
“How can a candidate claim to be tough on guns, stand up to the Republicans on education or anything else for that matter, yet crumble over the word “skank?” Wimes wrote. “They are clutching their pearls and losing their lunch because I called Gwen Graham a skank!”
Gillum’s campaign denounced the comments made by Wimes.
“Democrats running for Governor should be running on their ideas for Florida’s future. They should not be attacking other Democratic candidates. I hope that Mr. Gillum and the other contenders will take a positive approach going forward,” former Democratic Party Chairwoman Brady said.
The Graham campaign has also received the support of pro-choice, progressive groups Emily’s List and Ruth’s List, the latter is based in Tampa and came out in support of Graham Friday morning.
“To be clear, the Mayor and our campaign denounce name-calling, and we agree with EMILY’s List on that point,” said Geoff Burgan, Gillum’s communications director. “Our supporters should stick to the Congresswoman’s record.”,
But, when it comes to the ad being run by The Collective, Burgan says it speaks for itself concerning Graham’s record. He highlights what he calls Graham’s “hypocrisy” on the use of outside spending, or so-called “dark money.”
“It’s hypocritical for the Graham campaign to denounce outside spending and now call it “dark money” when it doesn’t benefit her like it did in 2014. Her “very conservative” record is on full display, and this campaign should be about her record against the Mayor’s record,”