The daughter of a former Governor and U.S. Senator announces her run for congress. Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham says she will challenge incumbent Republican Steve Southerland in 2014.
Graham, a Miami native moved to Tallahassee at the age of 15, when her father was elected Governor in 1978. Since then, she graduated from Leon High School and went on to earn her bachelors from the University of North Carolina and her law degree from American University.
Graham then moved back to Tallahassee to practice law and to raise her three children; she says she's always had a passion for public service, but felt she wasn't ready until recently.
In a one on one interview, Graham focused on the problems in Washington, citing political bigotry as a major issue and believes that the people of Northwest Florida feel the same.
"They are just tired. They are tired of the partisanship; they are tired of the bickering. They are tired of not getting things accomplished in Washington and I want to go to Washington and be an independent voice. I am going to consider good ideas from both Republicans and the Democrats and then work together to find common sense solutions. That's what we need to be doing, that's what the people expect us to do and that's what I commit to do." Graham said.
Graham's announcement comes just five months after Southerland beat out Al Lawson with nearly 53% of the vote. The Democrats already put a target on Congressman Steve Southerland, calling him radical. But Graham says this is not the type of campaign she is running.
"Our campaign did not have anything to do with that billboard. My goal is to run a campaign about a positive message for the people of this district."
What about Southerland's take?
"To know that I'm on their top ten list says to my constituents that I am a threat to those who do not believe in personal freedoms and personal liberties," Southerland said.
Southerland is among a handful of lawmakers in Washington targeted for defeat. The House Majority PAC, an influential lobbying group says getting an early start is key in winning the race, which may be part of the reason why Graham is throwing her name in the hat, 18 months before the election.