The Florida Democrat political establishment has long promoted Gwen Graham as the inevitable front-runner in their gubernatorial primary.
But, as Graham has failed to attract base enthusiasm, “raise real money,” and deflect devastating attacks from her rivals for flip-flopping on key issues, some in the Democrat political establishment are beginning to jump ship.
Just last week, former DNC Chairman Ed Rendell backed Philip Levine over Graham. The announcement comes after former Florida Democrat Party Chair opted to support Andrew Gillum, and Chris King received a big “boost” to his “credibility” by receiving the endorsement of the American Federation of Government Employees.
As the Democrat establishment begins to abandon Gwen Graham, here’s what Florida’s top political observers are saying about her underwhelming gubernatorial bid:
Florida Politics’ Peter Schorsch argues Graham’s failure to secure top endorsements is putting “cracks” in her “facade.”
“Instead, there are now two more cracks in Gwen Graham’s facade. It’s becoming hard to look at.”
Schorsch also noted Graham’s “boring” campaign is in “a difficult position.”
“Why isn’t her campaign doing better?
Why is she struggling to raise real money?
Why do so many Democrats say that she is ‘boring’ on the campaign trail?
Why do I have this bad feeling in my stomach about where Graham’s campaign will end?
Graham is in a difficult position right now as the politics of Parkland reshape the Democratic primary and the gubernatorial race.”
Noting Graham’s absentee campaign, Schorsch once asked in astonishment, “Where is [Gwen Graham]?
“Gwen Graham — Gillum’s debating the House Speaker. Philip Levine‘s commercials are running nonstop on MSNBC. Where is the Democratic front-runner?”
Politico Florida’s Marc Caputo has called Graham a “weak and nominal establishment” front-runner.
“Gwen Graham and Adam Putnam are the weak and nominal establishment front-runners in their parties’ primary races for Florida governor.”
Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith says Andrew Gillum, not Gwen Graham, is “the Democrat catching fire.”
“Tallahassee’s mayor may be an underdog in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, but lately it seems he’s the Democrat catching fire. He has been all over cable TV talking gun control, he drew prominent coverage in the Washington Post, and he won the endorsement of a top Florida Democratic money-raiser, former Florida Democratic Chairman Bob Poe.”
Smith has also reported that Graham struggles “mustering decent crowds.”
“Democratic organizers throughout Tampa Bay say it can be a struggle mustering decent crowds when former congresswoman Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, businessman Chris King of Winter Park or former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine campaign here. Not so with Gillum, a charismatic speaker and proud liberal aggressively courting the Bernie Sanders wing of his party.”
Tampa Democrat Mayor Bob Buckhorn believes that Graham has left “a huge vacuum” in the governor’s race.
“And, moments after mentioning that he knew all the candidates well except for King, he noted: ‘There’s no candidate from I-4 so there’s a huge vacuum here.”