Gwen Graham announces she will indeed challenge Steve Southerland in Florida’s CD2

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As first reported in SaintPetersBlog in February, Gwen Graham, daughter of former Governor Bob Graham, has announced she will challenge Steve Southerland in Congressional District 2.

“I want to be a different type of representative to find a common ground with Democrats and Republicans,” said Graham, who will seek the Democratic nomination. “That’s the kind of leader my dad was.”

Gwen Graham was born in Miami but moved into the Governor’s Mansion when her father won in 1978. She graduated from Leon High School in 1980 and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and her law degree from American University. She came back to Tallahassee to practice law and raise her three children, who also graduated from Leon High.

“At this stage, I feel fully prepared,” she said.

In 2004, a profile of Graham described her as a “a fresh face with a familiar name could be one answer for Florida Democrats starved for new candidates capable of helping the party regain political clout.” The story talked about how she would, after father’s presidential campaign fizzled out, seek elected officer for herself – “possibly a congressional run in 2006 from her family’s South Florida base.”

That was five election cycles ago.

The mother of three ended up not pursuing a congressional bid, instead she is currently the Director of Employee Relations for Leon County Schools. An extensive  Google and social networking search of Graham, as well as a search of public campaign finance databases, turns up little for the University of North Carolina grad after her brief foray into presidential politics in 2003-04. There certainly wasn’t any congressional run to speak of. 

Now Graham is running, she says, to provide an independent voice in Congress.

Material from the Tallahassee Democrat was used in this post. Please read Arek Sarkis


 “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Congress is a dysfunctional mess,” said Graham. “They’d rather fight each other with the goal of scoring points on cable news instead of focusing on creating jobs and balancing the budget – in fact, Congress hasn’t even passed a budget since Bobby Bowden was coach at FSU.”

sian’s report from the Democrat for more on Al Lawson’s reaction to Graham’s announcement.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.