Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, who served three terms in the U.S. Senate and two terms as governor, is running against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla. Despite serving as an aide to her father and two Democratic presidential candidates in the 2004 election cycle, then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt.. Graham is stressing she is a political outsider.
Toward the end of last week, Graham took a pledge against congressional perks and hit Southerland.
Today I pledged to reject the wasteful congressional perks being exploited by those in Washington, Graham said on Thursday. Rather than ending the squabbling that has prevented any progress, this do-nothing Congress is more concerned with protecting the taxpayer-funded perks they receive just for getting elected.
When our Congress, including Congressman Southerland, is more concerned with a gym discount than the welfare of our people, change is needed, Graham added. I will be a watchdog of our tax dollars against Washingtons waste and abuse.
Calling on Southerland to take the same pledge, Graham insisted she would put taxpayers first.
I will refuse to take a salary for missing a vote without registering an official absence with the clerk of the House, Graham promised. I will vote to end wasteful perks including taxpayer-funded first-class flights, private jets, car leases, and the taxpayer-funded gym. I will refuse to take any special taxpayer subsidy for health care not available to the public. Congress must stop abusing our tax dollars to help themselves and I pledge to bring Norths Floridas common-sense approach to ending this blatantly wasteful spending in Washington.
Graham called for "reform of congressional perks like those abused by Congressman Steve Southerland" and said getting elected rather than ending their squabbles and getting things done was not the North Florida way.
But the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) noted that other Democratic congressional hopefuls were taking the same pledge. The NRCC claimed that the plan came from groups tied with U.S House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Despite taking money from groups affiliated with Pelosi, Graham has refused to say if she will vote for the California Democrat to be House speaker.
Gwen Graham released her anti-perks plan today but one tidbit that Gwen forgot to tell reporters is that her perks plan was copied and pasted from Nancy Pelosis campaign committee, the NRCC insisted. Gwen is the ninth Democrat challenger to copy and paste this same plan and present it as her own work.
Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, looked to tie Graham to Pelosi as well.
Its deeply troubling that Gwen Graham is already acting like a career politician and pretending a plan written by Nancy Pelosis cronies is her own original work, Prill said. If Gwen is already comfortable with deceiving voters as a candidate, theres no telling how dishonest she will be if sent to Congress.
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