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Bob Graham to endorse Edward James in HD 72 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham will endorse Democratic HD 72 candidate Edward James on a conference call with reporters Thursday morning.

James hopes the endorsement of perhaps Florida’s best-loved living pol will give his campaign a boost.

“Governor Bob Graham has long been one of my heroes. He exemplifies what it truly means to be a public servant. His commitment to our great state in Tallahassee and Washington DC was never about politics, but always about doing the right thing,” James told Florida Politics on Wednesday.

“I’ve attended church service, family dinner, and football tailgates with Governor. and Mrs. Graham. They’ve always treated me like family,” added James.

James worked as a Regional Field Director on U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham‘s 2014 campaign for Congress, overseeing the eastern third of the sprawling 2nd Congressional District including rural Taylor and Jefferson counties as well as urban and suburban Tallahassee.

James, a first-time candidate, was briefly unopposed in the Sarasota-based HD 72 swing seat held by Republican Rep. Ray Pilon since he defeated former Democratic Rep. Keith Fitzgerald in 2010. Pilon opted to jump into a GOP primary battle for a Senate seat rather than run for reelection for his fourth term in the House.

Pilon said last week he will run in SD 23, now open since Sen. Nancy Detert declared her intention to run for Sarasota County Commission earlier this year.

Republican businesswoman Alex Miller said she intends to run for the open HD 72 seat on Monday.

Between his campaign fund and an associated political committee, James has raised nearly $250,000 since filing in the summer of 2015.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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