Tallahassee’s mayor has lost the endorsement of some of his colleagues in his race to be the state’s next governor. Leon County Commissioners John Dailey and Kristin Dozier are endorsing Democrat Gwen Graham for governor.
That’s a blow for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who works closely with the county on joint projects. The commissioners say the former congressional representative has a record of promoting education and the local economy. Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Tabitha Frazier is also endorsing Graham, noting her work to defend the embattled Apalachicola River and Bay. Meanwhile Leon County’s state representatives Loranne Ausley and Ramon Alexander are throwing their support behind Gillum, along with local-level officials from across the state.
Both candidates are rising stars in the Democratic Party. Graham hopes to follow in the footsteps of her father, former governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. A famously popular figure in Florida politics, Graham left the governor's mansion with an 83% approval rating. His daughter hopes to capitalize on that positive name recognition, and carry on the family legacy.
Gillum was selected to speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in the lead-up to Hillary Clinton's nomination as that party's presidential candidate. When WikiLeaks released Clinton advisor John Podesta's private emails, it was revealed that Gillum was considered as a potential vice presidential candidate.
Both candidates are fighting to make history. A Tallahassee lawmaker hasn't sat in the governor's office since LeRoy Collins left office in 1961. If elected, Graham would be the state’s first female top executive and Gillum would be the first African American.