Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is responding to an attack ad from her Aug. 28 primary opponent Jeff Greene by launching a new television commercial touting her environmental record and decrying “false negative advertising.”
Her 30-second spot, “Trust,” launched Tuesday morning, featuring footage of Graham and her father, former U.S. Sen. and former Gov. Bob Graham, kayaking together. It also touts endorsements from “respected environmentalists.”
The ad is a rebuttal to one Greene launched last week after the statewide Democratic debate. That ad sought to paint Graham and her family’s business, the Graham Companies, as threats to the environment, particularly to the Everglades, because the company is providing some of the land needed for the new mega-mall being developed in Miami. Greene’s commercial notes that environmental groups have roundly opposed the mall for its potential impact on traffic and the Everglades watershed.
Greene’s campaign responded to Graham’s latest commercial by calling on her to oppose the American Dream Mall, as does the Everglades Trust, which endorsed her.
Graham’s campaign first criticized Greene’s commercial ad last week by saying that she long ago withdrew from any involvement in the company, that the mall’s environmental impact may be far less than critics charge, and that her and her father’s environmental protection records are among the strongest of anyone in the state.
It’s the latter point that plays out in the new commercial, which includes a citation to an endorsement she received just Monday from the Everglades Trust.
“A billionaire opponent is attacking me personally – even falsely attacking my dad, Bob Graham,” Graham opens the commercial, referring to Greene, a Palm Beach developer. “It’s disappointing. Because the truth is I’ve been endorsed by respected environmentalists, including the Everglades Trust. And after twenty years of Republican rule, false negative ads won’t do anything to repair our environment, health care or public schools”
Graham, the former congresswoman from Tallahassee, and Greene are battling each other along with former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park businessman Chris King in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.
A news release issued by her campaign goes even further, seeking to compare her record on the environment and the transparency of her business dealings with that of Greene, charging that he owns stock in oil companies seeking to drill off Florida’s beaches or gas companies involved in the controversial extraction method known as “fracking,” and that his financial disclosures do not give enough detail to disclose how much he owns in them.
Just as Graham’s campaign didn’t limit criticism to the topic of the two advertisements, neither did Greene’s on Tuesday, which contended that her environmental record is nothing like that of her father’s, because when she was in Congress she voted to support the Keystone Pipeline, opposed by then-President Barack Obama, most environmental activists, and most Democrats.
Graham has defended those votes by saying she concluded that over-land or sea shipments of oil would be far more potentially hazardous than pipeline shipments, and certainly would create more pollution through the trucks, trains, and ships carrying the oil, rather than a pipeline.
But Greene’s campaign countered that Gwen Graham is no Bob Graham, whom Greene’s campaign praised as the architect of policies to protect “millions of acres of pristine Florida beauty.”
During his tenure as Governor and Senator, Bob Graham did great things for the state of Florida and for our environment. Ironically, he was the architect of our growth management policy that today protects millions of acres of pristine Florida beauty. He headed President Obama’s commission to investigate the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and offshore drilling.
“Graham calls Greene’s attacks personal. That’s patently false and she knows it,” Greene’s campaign charged. “But her votes to gut Obamacare and her profiting from a paving over of the Everglades ARE personal to the millions of Floridians that they impact.”