Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham opened a new campaign headquarters in Orlando Saturday.
“This is just thrilling. I’m so excited to officially be a resident of Orlando. Central Florida is at the heart of our 67-county strategy,” Graham said, “After 20 years of Republican dominance, we face so many challenges. That’s why I’m running for governor. We must restore our promise to public education, protect our environment, and build an economy that works for everyone.”
The former congresswoman was joined by supporters and a handful of Orlando-area elected officials for the opening celebration, including Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart, who endorsed Graham ahead of the weekend event.
“I’ve had enough of the portraits of men hanging in the Governor’s mansion. We have a real chance to do something about a generation of failed leadership in Florida,” Stewart said Saturday. “I believe in Gwen Graham. I am voting for her. And I am proud to endorse her as the next Governor of the State of Florida.”
Stewart is a leader in Democrats’ fight for an assault weapons ban. Graham reiterated her support of such a measure Saturday.
“I was actually in Orlando when the Pulse shooting happened and then I was able to sit with Congressman John Lewis on the House floor and call for action. I still can’t believe nothing happened,” she said. “After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, we must take action. When I’m governor, I’m going to listen to the students who are crying out for commonsense gun safety.”
Along with Stewart, Orlando Rep. Amy Mercado, Attorney General candidate and Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw, HD 47 candidate Anna Eskamani and former Rep. Karen Castor Dentel attended the headquarters opening.
Graham’s new HQ is not far from Democratic Primary opponent Chris King’s base, opened last month. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine also recently opened a campaign office in Central Florida, though his is in Kissimmee.
Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, King and Levine in the primary.
Through March, she held the No. 2 spot in primary race fundraising with about $6.5 million raised and $3.9 million in the bank. Levine has been in the top spot since entering the race last year, though much of his funding comes from his personal fortune.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are competing for the Republican nomination. House Speaker Richard Corcoran could join them in the race as soon as this week.