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Republicans quickly attack Gwen Graham as non-achieving, non-transparent

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Republicans wasted little time, setting their sights quickly on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham Tuesday, accusing her of having no achievements in public service, and hiding some of her congressional records.

In separate releases, the Republican Party of Florida said she lacks accomplishments to run on; the Republican Governors Association said the former congresswoman did not release her congressional records before leaving office at the end of December.

The pair of responses may indicate a level of concern the Republicans could have for a Graham candidacy, as neither party organization quickly attacked the announced candidacies of the other two Democrats running for governor, Winter Park businessman Chris King and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Graham’s campaign dismissed the charges as typical partisan responses:

“These predictable, partisan attacks are about as standardized and one-dimensional as the high-stakes tests Florida Republicans keep heaping on our schools and kids. Let’s focus on Florida — that’s certainly what Gwen Graham is doing.”

In the RPOF release, Florida Republican Chair Blaise Ingoglia called Graham a product of the Democratic Party’s “cookie cutter machine.”

“Gwen Graham is just another example of what’s wrong with the Democrat Party — a candidate who is running on her father’s name ID, rather than on her own accomplishments. Graham’s only record of achievement is that of non-achievement! said running for office does not qualify you for governing a state,” Ingoglia stated in a release.

“It requires a track record of getting things done,” he added. “Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Graham, and the people of Florida deserve better and will ultimately choose experience over rhetoric.”

The Republican Governors Association brought up a side effort launched late last fall, when it sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Graham’s congressional office seeking all records associated with her family’s businesses. At that time, her office responded publicly to the media, saying there were no such records, but did not respond to the RGA because congressional offices are exempt from the FOIA law.

The RGA brought it up again Tuesday, in a news release saying she had promised transparency, but failed to deliver.

“Graham’s efforts to hide her congressional records proves she can’t be trusted to lead the state as governor. Floridians deserved to know if Graham used her position in government to benefit any of her families’ companies or affiliated businesses — and she can only prove that by immediately releasing these congressional records and communications.”

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Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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