Democrat Gwen Graham unseated Republican Congressman Steve Southerland and said her message when she gets to Congress will the same one she delivered on the campaign trial, let’s work together. Graham scored a rare victory for Florida Democrats when she defeated Southerland who was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010. She credited the victory to a positive message; saying she will work reach across the aisle to end the hyper-partisanship that has gridlocked Congress.
“I’m going to go up (to Washington D.C.) with the same attitude I’ve taken this entire campaign which is that I care about people. I don’t care what party someone is in,” Graham said, meeting with reporters Wednesday.
“What I heard across the District everywhere we went was that the we’re tired of Congress not doing their job. Tired of partisanship taking priority over getting things done for people and that is why I think we were successful,” said Graham
Unofficial results in the 14-county district gave Graham 50.6 percent of the vote to Southerland’s 121,258. Early in the race she pledged to contest Southerland in each county even though in two consecutive elections Southerland had posted a winning margin of more than 60 percent in eight of them.
She established a formidable base in Leon and Gadsden, flipped Jefferson and Madison counties to the Democrats, trimmed Southerland’s victory in Wakulla by about 3,000 votes and made enough inroads elsewhere to emerge victorious while elsewhere in the state Republican Gov. Rick Scott won reelection and the GOP increased the number of seats it holds in the Florida House.
“I took nothing for granted. I knew it was a race where we had to make very day county and we did that,” said Graham. “I think campaign will be looked at across the country as an example of how to run a race well.”
Graham said the first phone calls she would make are to Republican Reps. Jeff Miller and Ted Yoho of the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts to begin a working relationship for the people of North Florida. Those calls had yet to be returned as of Wednesday afternoon.