Attacks Flying in Steve Southerland-Gwen Graham Congressional Race

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: December 19, 2013 3:55 AM
Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

The attacks are starting to fly in North Florida in what promises to be one of the most heated congressional races in the nation in 2014.

On Wednesday, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) turned up the heat on Democratic congressional hopeful Gwen Graham who is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.

Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, looked to link Graham -- the daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham -- to liberals in her party. Graham worked for the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Howard Dean after her father dropped out of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Curry also looked to draw out if Graham will vote for U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to be House speaker. So far Graham has refused to say if she will back Pelosi.

“Dean-Kerry Democrat Gwen Graham has been endorsed by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and supported by her Washington buddies,” Curry said on Wednesday. “As she raises more money with South Florida liberals today, will she finally publicly embrace Obamacare and pledge her vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker, even though it puts her at odds with North Florida voters?”

While Republicans bash Graham for her fundraising, which also included an event in Central Florida on Monday with U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., she is getting increased help from her party at the national level. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) continues to pound Southerland’s record in Washington, already launching five attacks on the Republican congressman this month. Most of the focus against Southerland concerns his opposition to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.

“Congressman Southerland’s reckless plan to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act would mean 614,200 consumers in Florida would be left without health insurance rebates, after receiving an average rebate of $132 last year,” said Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for the DCCC, on Monday. “Instead, Congressman Southerland would send us back to the days when insurance companies could spend premiums however they want, whether it’s red tape or big executive bonuses. The people of Florida are saving money because the ACA is reining in insurance companies, and they cannot afford for Congressman Southerland to send us back to an old, broken system.”

In the meantime, Democrats continue to rally behind Graham who is increasingly facing an easier path to her party’s nomination. Former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson announced this week he would not seek the party’s nomination. Lawson challenged then-U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., in the Democratic primaries in 2010 and won the nomination to challenge Southerland in 2012. Despite his two previous defeats, Lawson left the door open to a third congressional bid.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (11)

Robert vaugher
5:31PM DEC 23RD 2013
Stevew Southerland is a complete fool
He has no interest in anything that would lead to a lasting and effective form of government. He is simple minded and frankly a bit of a moron.
A true waste of space in congress.
9:29AM DEC 21ST 2013
Graham is by far the better candidate. the last thing we need is another right wing member who pushes nothing but the no vote button.
11:59AM DEC 19TH 2013
Kevin Darby is apparently sensitive about his guys being called out. Gwen Graham is accused of being allied with people that provided competent governance when they were in control of Congress. Steve Southerland is full on Tea Party the folks that do not understand the Constitution and are determined to have the Article of Confederation brought back asw well as destroying the economy. Plus Southerland has only displayed competence in dealing with dead people while promoting policy that will make sure more people die sooner. Then his membership in the Dead Sea Skinnydipping Society.Gwen Graham is clearly a far better choice.
Big Steve
10:03AM DEC 19TH 2013
Ironic that the DCCC says 614,200 consumers inn Florida will lose healthcare coverage if ACA is repealed since that is exactly the same amount of people who have lost healthcare coverage as a result of ACA. The only difference being that healthcare was cheaper without ACA.
Pat McGann
11:12PM DEC 20TH 2013
Please cite the source(s) of your claims, which I believe to be spurious.
9:53AM DEC 19TH 2013
Witchdoctor laugh out loud at clever use of language here!

Bones don't lie.
11:49AM DEC 19TH 2013
But your racist pseudonym can't tell the truth . . .

Pathetic . . . .
6:03PM DEC 19TH 2013
Frank the sad Racist returns! Witchdoctor feared the left locked you up on the Democratic plantation.

Bones don't lie.
(but Frank does).
11:37AM DEC 22ND 2013
Spoken like the true racist your demonizing pseudonym stereotypes . . . .

Pathetic . . .
8:14AM DEC 19TH 2013
Another liberal Graham? Gwen hell freezes over.
Pat McGann
11:14PM DEC 20TH 2013
far better a liberal than the looney-tune we have representing Congressional District 2 now.

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