Tampa Bay Democrats Call on Gillum to Stop Attack Ad
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
Two area Democratic leaders and an organization based in Tampa have called on gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum to pull an attack ad against Gwen Graham.
TAMPA BAY – Two Tampa Bay area Democrats, former Education Commissioner Betty Castor and state Sen. Darryl Rouson are calling on Andrew Gillum to “stop his secret money attacks” against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham.
Castor and Rouson, who made their demands Thursday (May 10) in a press release from Graham’s campaign, were joined Friday (May 11) by Ruth’s List Florida, a Tampa-based pro-choice group that supports Democratic women for state and local office.
“Here they go — already attacking a qualified woman candidate for governor with a false ad and smears fueled with secret money,” Castor said. “Mayor Gillum should immediately call for this ad to be removed and for secret money groups to stay out of Florida. All the candidates for governor should follow Gwen Graham’s lead and stick to highlighting their own accomplishments and records instead of resorting to Republican-style attacks.”
Castor was referring to a television ad by the Collective PAC, a Washington, DC-based group that seeks “to build black political power by supporting progressive black candidates on the local, state and federal level.” The Collective supports Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor who is running for governor.
According to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat, the ad accuses Graham, who served in the U.S. House for one term from 2015-2016, of not supporting then-President Barack Obama and voting against him 52 percent of the time.
That’s false and misleading, Rouson said.
“Florida Democrats are going to see right through this false attack against Gwen Graham,” Rouson said. “In Congress, Graham voted overwhelmingly with Democrats to support President Obama’s agenda and defend the Affordable Care Act, consumer protections and Florida’s environment. Secret money PACs saying otherwise are misleading Florida voters and hurting our state.”
Gillum’s campaign has fired back, saying that Graham is being hypocritical when it comes to accepting the benefits of outside 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,” said Geoff Burgan, communications director.
Burgan pointed to an Oct. 28, 2014, story from USA Today that quoted Graham on outside spending: “The ads are not being run by my campaign, Graham said during a debate with Southerland in Tallahassee. “They’re being run by an independent expenditure.”
Burgan also noted that, in 2014, Super PAC’s spent $1.3 million dollars either in support of Graham or against her opponent, then-Congressman Steve Southerland. Click here for data back-up.
“In this race no candidate will be able to run from their voting record, but if we had a choice in this ad, we’d want Mayor Gillum’s progressive record to be the focus,” Burgan said. “The Graham campaign seems to be uncomfortable with her own voting record.”
Gillum’s campaign pounded on the theme of Graham’s voting record Friday afternoon by releasing a statement from former state Rep. Cynthia Chestnut from Alachua County: “When you are in office, you accumulate a record and you should be held accountable for it. Florida Democrats are looking for someone with a vision and the record to take on big problems like health care, public schools, and better-paying jobs. When I served, my votes were my report card, and Democrats cannot afford to lose another election by one percent.”
Graham and Gillum are two of the six Democrats who have announced they are running for governor. The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.
For information about Graham, go to gwengraham.com.
For information about Gillum, go to andrewgillum.com.
Gwen Graham | Andrew Gillum | Governor | Elections | Politics | Tampabay News
#GwenGraham #AndrewGillum #Governor #Elections #Politics #TampabayNews