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Graham Returns Home To Cast Vote, Rally Tallahassee Supporters Ahead Of Primary

Gwen Graham speaks with reporters outside the Leon County Courthouse Thursday. Graham is on the last leg of her campaign ahead of the Tuesday primary. (8/23/2018)
L Hatter

Gubernatorial candidates are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Democrat Gwen Graham returned to Tallahassee Thursday to vote and rally her supporters amid polls showing Graham and Phil Levine tied as front-runners to win the Democratic Gubernatorial primary.

Graham was greeted by a crowd of about 50 people outside the Leon County Courthouse. Her supporters carried signs and cheered her on. She stopped briefly to sign an autograph before heading into the courthouse and re-emerging a few minutes later still offering hugs and handshakes.

“When I first met her she was just like a spark of light and she’s really good to everybody. I was young when I met her I was in 8th grade and now I’M 16. And she just really put me out there and  I just think she’s really good for this," says Barber, who came to the Courthouse to see Graham. 

Graham greets supporters with hugs outside the Leon County Courthouse. She cast her ballot Thursday (8/23/18) before heading off for the rest of her campaign swing.
Credit L Hatter / WFSU News
Graham greets supporters with hugs outside the Leon County Courthouse. She cast her ballot Thursday (8/23/18) before heading off for the rest of her campaign swing.

Barber can’t vote yet, but if she could, she says it would be for Graham. Barber says she first met Graham at her great-grandmother’s funeral a few years ago. So did Rhea Stevens who can vote—and is. For Graham.  

“She’s such a sweet person, she has a beautiful spirit about her, And I like that she’s a people person,  just like her dad," Stevens says.

Graham’s father is former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, who make it a practice to do the jobs of Floridians. His "Work Days" are something Graham has continued throughout her short Congressional career and her Gubernatorial campaign.

It’s been a while since Graham was in Tallahassee, though she lives here. The campaign has taken her across the state and today’s stop was just that—as she makes her final pitches to voters ahead of Election Day.

"This race is going to determine Florida’s future," she says. "Whether we have a future that's its bright for all Floridians, whether we can end this blue-green algae, the environmental catastrophe that we see on both coast of the state of Florida. for me personally, that’s a symptom of what’s happened with 20 years of having one party in control that hasn’t been looking out for the people of Florida. when I’m governor, it’s going to be the people, and taking care of Florida herself. I believe Florida is a girl, by the way.” 

Graham’s campaign plans to spend election night in Orlando, where her headquarters are located. The most recent polls show her in a statistical tie with former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine ahead of Tuesday’s primary election. 

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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