Tags: Florida House | midterms | Steve Southerland | Gwen Graham

In Close Fla. Race, Dems See Chance to Gain House Seat

By    |   Monday, 13 Oct 2014 11:45 AM

With momentum on their side, many analysts believe Republicans will increase their majority in the House, but Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Florida Sen. Bob Graham, provides Democrats with the opportunity for a rare pickup, reports The New York Times.

Graham has shown her ability to capitalize on her father's popularity, and, as an attorney, she has no political record for incumbent Rep. Steve Southerland to criticize.

Newsmax TV video: Grover Norquist on Midterm Elections.



"[Southerland] has turnout in his favor. But she has taken the confluence of name and the ability to raise money and the automatic gravitas that comes with that and parlayed it into a smart message," Fred Piccolo Jr., a Republican political consultant, told the Times.

The race is rated by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call as a "toss-up."

RealClearPolitics also has the race in the "toss-up" category.

In recent weeks, both campaigns have released internal polls showing their candidate with the lead, reports The Panama City News Herald.

Southerland's campaign poll, taken at the beginning of October, gave him a 45 percent to 39 percent lead over Graham, while an internal Democratic poll conducted in late September showed her with a 48 percent to 45 percent lead, according to the Herald.

Southerland did boost his fundraising in the third quarter with a haul of $620,000, an improvement on his $431,000 second quarter numbers, reports The Tampa Bay Times.

Evidence of her fundraising prowess, Graham raised $820,000 during the same period.

Despite her lack of a political record, Southerland has attempted to tie her to Washington Democrats and Obamacare.

In one ad, Southerland characterized Graham as a "Washington lobbyist and liberal political consultant who has taken thousands of dollars from Nancy Pelosi and her special interest allies," and inferred she was "handpicked" by the leader of the House Democrats.

For her part, Graham counters that Southerland voted for the government shutdown.

During a recent campaign event with veterans, Graham slammed her opponent for voting "twice to continue the shut down," which "has hurt so many people in our country," the News Herald reported.

Newsmax TV video: Grover Norquist on Midterm Elections.


Although Graham has benefited from her own roots, she also has been given a lifeline as a result of Southerland's self-inflicted wounds, including a Buzzfeed report that he held a men-only fundraiser in March.

According to an invitation obtained by the website, attendees were advised to "tell the misses not to wait up" because "the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many."

Matters were made worse when Southerland responded to Democratic claims that he was "anti-woman" by saying: "I live with five women. That's all I'm saying. I live with five women. Listen: Has Gwen Graham ever been to a lingerie shower? Ask her. And how many men were there?" The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Southerland responded to the Tampa Bay Times report by alleging that is comments were "being misused for political gain."

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Many expect Republicans will increase their majority of House seats next month, but Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Florida Sen. Bob Graham, provides Democrats with the opportunity for a rare pickup.
Florida House, midterms, Steve Southerland, Gwen Graham
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2014-45-13
Monday, 13 Oct 2014 11:45 AM
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