breaking news

FAU wins in lawsuit by fired professor who said Sandy Hook was a hoax

Leading Democratic candidates for Florida governor agree on big issues

It was literally a love fest on Saturday when the three leading Democratic candidates for Florida governor — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and businessman Chris King — got together for a forum.

“I love you, Andrew. I don’t know Chris as well, but I love you, too …We need a whole lot more love in this world,” Graham said at one point when candidates were asked to discuss their faith and the role it plays in shaping their political views.

The event, organized by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, marked the first time the 2018 candidates have appeared on stage together. It drew 300 or more people a few hours before the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Leadership Blue fundraising dinner, where former Vice President Joe Biden was the scheduled keynote speaker.

Gillum, Graham and King agreed on expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage, restoring voting rights to ex-felons, banning fracking, spending more money on public education and placing less emphasis on high-stakes testing.

Gillum in his opening remarks gave a shout-out to “the only governor in the room” — Bob Graham, the father of Gwen Graham. When King’s microphone cut out, Gillum and Graham offered him theirs. King promised that his campaign is “going to be positive. Positive. Positive. Positive.”

Beyond all the agreement and good feelings, each candidate contended that he or she is best positioned to win the governorship in 2018 after five straight victories by Republicans.

Gillum sought to position himself as the most progressive candidate and said Democrats can’t excite the party’s base and win elections by being “Republican lite.”

“Are you too progressive for a state like Florida?” Gillum asked rhetorically. “My answer to that is I think the only way we win is not by shrinking from who we are but by standing up for the values that make the Democratic Party.”

King, who heads a business that develops and revitalizes affordable housing projects, presented himself as a fresh face with experience that counters traditional Republican criticism of Democrats.

In the general election debate in the fall of 2018, King predicted, “there will be that moment that always comes” when the Republican nominee says, “You can’t trust this tax-and-spend liberal to manage Florida. You can’t trust this person because they can’t create jobs, they can’t grow business. They will ride this economy down, right? You’ve heard it every cycle.”

But, King said, “If you choose this Democrat as your nominee and I’m on that stage I will look to the Republican and say on the contrary, not this Democrat. This Democrat created jobs. This Democrat created successful businesses, created profit, delivered returns to investors, served customers all across the country …We can do well by doing good. That’s been the story I’ve tried to prove every year in business. It’s the story, if you give me the opportunity, I want to prove as your next governor.”

Graham was elected to the House in 2014, one of the only Democrats in the nation to unseat a Republican incumbent in a big midterm election for the GOP.

“I won with your help in a red year, a red Republican wave in a red district. And you know how I did it? I did it by going all over 14 counties in North Florida talking to everyone, connecting with everyone,” Graham said. “We’re going to bring out the base here in South Florida, we’re going to bring out the voters in the I-4 corridor. We’re going to do better in every part of Florida because we do not have another election to give.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct
Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Update 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the allegations levied against President Donald Trump in a news briefing Monday, telling reporters that the president has “addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.” "The American people knew this and voted...
The rise, striking fall of a Trump adviser
The rise, striking fall of a Trump adviser

A brass band played, fighter jets streaked the clear blue sky and a red carpet adorned the airport tarmac on the day in May 2016 when Vladimir Putin came to Athens for a visit.  "Mr. President, welcome to Greece," the Greek defense minister, Panos Kammenos, said in Russian as he smiled broadly and greeted a stone-faced Putin at the base...
8.8 million Americans face big tax hike if Republicans scrap the medical deduction
8.8 million Americans face big tax hike if Republicans scrap the medical deduction

Anne Hammer is one of millions of elderly Americans who could face a substantial tax hike in 2018 depending on the final negotiations over the Republican tax bill.  In her retirement community in Chestertown, Maryland, it's the big topic of conversation.  Hammer is 71. Like many seniors, her medical bills are piling up. There are doctor visits...
Moore calls sexual-assault allegations ‘ritual defamation’
Moore calls sexual-assault allegations ‘ritual defamation’

In his first sit-down interview since Dec. 4, and his first on local Alabama television since last month, Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore told reporter Bill Britt that the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct were engaged in "ritual defamation" against him.  "I do not know them. I had no encounter with them. I have...
In Franken’s wake, three senators call on President Trump to resign
In Franken’s wake, three senators call on President Trump to resign

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and two of his Democratic colleagues have suggested that President Donald Trump should consider resigning, after a run of sexual harassment scandals that has driven out some members of Congress.  Sen. Al Franken "felt it proper for him to resign," Sanders said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press"...
More Stories