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Email insights: Gwen Graham and Petey the Possum campaign in Washington County

in 2017/Top Headlines by

A recent communique from the U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham camp takes a playful approach to making a serious point — possibly a decisive one, when it comes to Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

The freshman Democrat’s spokesman narrated their most recent campaign stop at the Wasau Possum Festival by way of Petey the Possum, a stuffed marsupial that graced the headquarters of Graham for Congress in Tallahassee last year.

The festival is a staple of Panhandle politics. Candidates for all manner of local and federal office join with Washington County locals to celebrate the noble opossum and pay tribute to harder times during the Great Depression, when many North Floridians turned to possum as a basic source of food.

Petey noted that unlike the last two festivals, where former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland also took his place among the bidders in the usual possum “auction” that headlines the program in Wasau, no other announced candidates in CD 2 was on hand.

Hey y’all, it’s Petey the Possum.

I’m writing to you because yesterday was my favorite day of the year: the Wausau Possum Festival!

Like many of you, I’ve been with Gwen since the beginning, when we met at the festival back in 2013.

Now, lots of candidates come through the Possum Festival in election years, but Gwen’s one of the very few who comes out every year — because for Gwen, it’s not about politickin’, it’s about community.

Whether it’s celebrating worm gruntin’ or watermelons, our festivals are a time for us to forget partisan politics and to have fun together, kinda like The North Florida Way.

I’ve been with Gwen since the first day I met her, and I know you have too — and working together, we’re bringing that same North Florida Way to Washington.

I hope you’ve had a good weekend, and I’ll see you at next year’s Possum Festival!


Petey the Possum

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to 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

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