Gwen Graham

Gil Ziffer backs Graham over Gillum, who sez he would’ve shunned his endorsement

zifferThere’s apparently no love lost between Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer and Tally Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who’s running for governor.

gillum_standingIn what appears to be a slap to Gillum, Ziffer threw his support behind Gwen Graham, one of Gillum’s primary foes.

“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, who’s also the president of the Florida League of Cities, said in a statement released by Graham’s campaign Wednesday. “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.”

From the release:

Ziffer’s endorsement comes one day after Graham’s pledge to use her legal resources as governor to support local governments challenging the state’s firearm preemption law with common-sense gun safety regulations.

But Gillum — who’s made stricter gun regulations one of his key campaign issues, and  has boasted of taking on the NRA — didn’t want city colleague Ziffer’s endorsement anyway, according to Gillum’s campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan:

“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. We never sought his endorsement, and would not have accepted given these strong policy differences.”

Burgan 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 place yesterday.”

That’s a “back at ya” to this morning’s Graham press release, which notes that “Ziffer joins Leon County Commissioners John Dailey, Kristin Dozier and Leon Soil and Water Commissioner Tabitha Frazier in endorsing Graham.”

Poll: Voters meh on Fla guv race

Agriculture Commish Adam Putnam and Fox News darling Congressman Ron DeSantis are neck-and-neck, and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has a slight edge over former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.

“Right now, the only things that are certain about Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial primaries are that the outcomes are far from certain, a lot of money is going to be poured into these two very competitive races and the voters are not fully tuned in,” pollster Brad Coker said in a press release announcing the poll results.

On the Democratic side in the race to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who’s term-limited out of office this year, Graham captured 20 percent of the vote, while 17 percent of Dems said they’re backing Levine. Ten percent of likely Democratic voters support Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and 4 percent are behind Chris King.  And nearly half of likely Dem voters — a whopping 49 percent — are undecided.

On the GOP side, 43 percent of likely Republican voters haven’t yet made up their minds, the poll found. Statewide, 27 percent of GOP voters back Putnam, while 23 percent are for DeSantis. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who hasn’t announced if he’s running yet, captured support from 7 percent of those polls.

The Mason Dixon Polling & Strategy survey of 500 likely Democratic voters and 500 likely Republican voters was conducted from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1. The margin of error was +/- 4.5 percent.

The current results largely reflect name recognition and none of the candidates appear to be hampered by high negative ratings from their party voters.

Here’s more from Coker:

It is interesting to note that both front-runners have leads that are smaller than their recognition advantages. Graham, the daughter of former Governor & Senator Bob Graham, has an 8-point name recognition margin over Levine, but just a 3-point lead.

Putnam, the only candidate to have run statewide, has a name recognition advantage of 7-points over DeSantis, but only a 4-point lead. Graham’s total recognition of 65% among Democrats is likely lower than many insiders would expect, but her father’s name has not appeared on the state ballot in 20 years. Putnam has only 63% recognition among GOP voters, as his position in the state cabinet is low profile.

Traditional expectations in primary elections based on insider baseball no longer apply in a growing and ever-changing state. As both parties have polarized, establishment backing is no longer a great advantage.

Got a job for Gwen?

Gwen-Graham-Workdays-1145x550What’s next for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham?

It could be serving meals to the homeless, caring for zoo animals, bringing food to hospital patients or a myriad of other possibilities.

As part of a request for campaign cash, Graham’s campaign sent out a survey Friday ask potential donors to weigh on her next “workday.”

Graham, who served a term in Congress and didn’t seek re-election after her Northwest Florida was redrawn, has adopted the “workdays” tactic of her father, former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

It’s worth noting that elder Graham’s workdays have been co-opted by a number of other politicos, including Republicans like state Rep. Matt Caldwell, who’s running for agriculture commissioner.

Back to Gwen Graham, though, some of the options posed in the SurveyMonkey questionnaire give respondents the choices of having the candidate:

— Deliver meals to patients at a local hospital;
— Clean up a neighborhood park;
— Serve meals at a homeless shelter;
— Work at a treatment facility for people struggling with addiction;
— Volunteer and support teachers at a school;
— Care for animals at a zoo.

Fans can also make their own suggestions for “a local business or organization where you think Gwen should spend a Workday.”

The job selected, which would be undertaken in the fall, would be Graham’s 42nd “workday.”

So far this year, Graham has pitched in working full shifts at a high school, a reintegration program and health clinics, “and more,” according to the pitch.

After being dared by a teacher in 1974 to teach a civics class at Carol City High School in Miami Lakes, Bob Graham undertook a series of 100, eight-hour “workdays.” Back then, Graham was as a little known state legislator embarking on a gubernatorial run in 1977.

By the time he left office in 2005, the two-term governor and three-term U.S. Senator had completed nearly 1,000 “workdays” — including lobster fisherman, mullet gutter, plumber,counterterrorism agent, housewife and downskeeper during an FSU-UF football game.

By Jim Turner.