Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy announced Thursday afternoon that he will not run for governor and is instead endorsing Gwen Graham in this year’s gubernatorial contest. The announcement came during a news conference in Pembroke Pines that was attended by both Murphy and Graham.
“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 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 after receiving the endorsement. “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.”
The news follows weeks of speculation over whether Murphy himself would enter the race for governor. He had floated the idea of making a bid for the seat with another former congressman, Republican David Jolly, as his running mate. Murphy supporters even had a poll conducted which showed a Murphy-Jolly ticket would be a viable contender in the race.
But, in the end, Murphy reportedly decided Wednesday that with less than two months remaining before the August 28 primary, he didn’t have time or money to make a serious bid for governor.
The news brought a quick, short response from the campaign of one of Graham’s opponents in the race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
“Does it come with David Jolly’s endorsement too?” Gillum’s Communications Director Geoff Burgan asked in a written statement. It was an apparent reference to Graham’s’ comment last month that she would also consider Jolly as a running mate. She quickly took back that comment saying she would only consider a Democrat as her lieutenant governor candidate.