In working her way to the top of the polls in the Democratic primary for Florida governor, Gwen Graham has taken every opportunity to remind voters that she’s the only woman running in a five-person field.
On Thursday night, Democrats’ final debate before the Aug. 28 election certainly felt like — to use one of Graham’s favorite phrases — “Gwen and the men.”
With voters already casting absentee ballots, Graham’s opponents took the opportunity in an event broadcast around the state to attack her over her financial stake in the development of a massive mall being developed in northwest Miami-Dade and her support in Congress for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Graham, who at times struggled to respond to the barbs during the Palm Beach Gardens debate sponsored by the Florida Press Association and WPBF 25 News, tried to focus voters on her general election appeal as a former Panhandle congresswoman.
“I am different than the others here on the stage. I’m a mom, a former PTA president, public school official and I served Florida in Congress. And there’s something else that differentiates me,” Graham said. “I’m the only one on this stage who has beaten a Republican, and I beat a Republican in a Republican wave year in a Republican district.”