Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is enlisting the help of Democrats across the state to denounce opponent Andrew Gillum and oppose political ads being paid for on his behalf by a secretive political committee called The Collective.
The super PAC just announced it would spend $500,000 on a media buy that attacks the voting record of Graham during her two years in Congress from 2015 to 2017. The Collective has already spent more than $1.2 million in support of Gillum,
On its website, The Collective identifies its mission as “working to fix the challenge of African American underrepresentation in elected seats of power throughout our nation.” Gillum is the only black candidate in the race for governor. He’s also the only candidate who isn’t at least a millionaire, a point that Gillum has made an issue in the race.
Monday morning, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Jacksonville city council members Garrett Dennis and Tommy Hazouri and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel from Palm Beach County all joined Graham in condemning the secretive PAC and its ads attacking Graham.
“We know the attack ads are coming from one of two places. They are either a Democrat attacking a fellow Democrat — or they are Republicans and special interests playing us for fools,” Buckhorn said. “Either way, the only thing these false, negative attacks will do is hurt Democrats’ chances of taking back our state in November.”
“The Republicans are loving to watch as Andrew Gillum embraces secret money and attacks Gwen Graham with Super PC money,” said Hazouri. “This irresponsible sham weakens our party, and makes it harder for us to win the General Election.”
In a statement released by The Collective, the group said its new ad buy would focus on one of Gillum’s opponents “who continues to tout progressive credentials despite voting with banks, supporting the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, and publicly undermining President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to get reelected.”
Graham did vote to loosen certain financial restrictions in the Dodd-Frank bill and supported the Keystone XL pipeline. But she backed Democratic leadership on the Affordable Care Act, although she did vote to increase the employer mandate requiring the law apply to 40-hour-a-week employees rather than 30-hour-a-week employees.
“Since the ads first aired in May, they have had little effect on the race besides angering Democratic leaders. Gillum has continued to struggle in polling and fundraising, while Graham is now leading in five public polls,,” Graham’s campaign said in a release Monday.
The Capitolist reached out to the Gillum campaign for a comment but has not yet received a response.