New Gwen Graham TV spot holds Steve Southerland accountable for VAWA vote

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The battle of competing campaign ads continues full-force in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

“Against,” the latest ad from Democratic candidate Gwen Graham, holds Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland’s feet to the fire over “distortions” about his vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

In Southerland’s Aug. 29 “Advocate” TV spot, the Bay County Republican touted his vote for reauthorization of VAWA as proof of his support for women’s issues. That same day, the Huffington Post reported that Southerland “left out one key detail.” He voted for the House GOP’s version of the VAWA reauthorization, but not for the Senate’s bipartisan version of the bill, the version that passed the Senate in a 78-22 vote and eventually became law.

“While he claims to be ‘advocating’ for women,” the 30-secomd spot says, “Congressman Steve Southerland voted against the bi-partisan Violence Against Women Act that actually became law.”

 “Saying one thing in TV ads. Doing the opposite in Congress,” the ad concludes. “That’s not The North Florida Way.”

“Against” is now available on YouTube


A Southerland spokesman said the commercial does not tell the full story.

“As the father of four daughters, Steve believes women’s health should not be used as a political football and it’s a shame Gwen Graham doesn’t feel the same way,” said Southerland spokesman Matt McCullough.

“When VAWA was set to expire, Steve voted to extend each one of these critical programs protecting women from domestic violence and abuse. When the Senate attached new provisions that were not part of VAWA, Steve though they were worthy of consideration but unfortunately, Harry Reid was not interested in a bipartisan discussion,” said McCullough.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.