Editor’s Note: Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Editor Stuart Rothenberg. This feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed.
Have a question for a candidate? We’ll announce their visits via Twitter, and you can tweet your inquiry to @RollCall or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The candidate: Democratic attorney Gwen Graham The member: Two-term Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla. The district: Both Southerland and Mitt Romney carried the Panhandle district by about 6 points. The candidate's team: Julia Gill (campaign manager), Joe Trippi of Trippi & Associates (media), John Anzalone of Anzalone Liszt Research (pollster), Dylan Sumner of Mack Sumner (direct mail), and Steve Schale (senior adviser).
1. As the niece of Watergate-era Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, what is your opinion of the Justice Department's investigations of reporters? As a member of Congress, what would you do to counter that?
I am very concerned about anything that has a chilling effect on the free press. ... I would make sure that there was a full investigation into what went on and make sure that if there were any concerns, that they were addressed properly.
2. @CraigPlazure put in a question for you via Twitter: "How will she campaign in the potential primary with [2012 Democratic nominee] Al Lawson?"
We are going to continue to focus on defeating Congressman Southerland in 2014.
[After the jump: Graham talks about her father, former Sen. Bob Graham, the health care overhaul and her recruitment process.]
3. Did the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recruit you to run for this race?
I was not recruited by the DCCC. I decided to run and I reached out to the DCCC and let them know that I was going to run. And through the strength of the campaign that we put together, and the team that we have and our plan that we have in place that we're following everyday, I've been very honored to gain their support over time.
4. If you are elected, and there is a vote to repeal the health care overhaul law, how would you vote?
First of all, I don't think that's going to happen. I think that Congressman Southerland has been focused on repealing Obamacare. It is the law now, and I think this is what people are tired of, of the partisan bickering. My focus will be on working to improve the law for the people of the 2nd Congressional District. And there will be modifications that will need to be made and that's what my focus will be.
5. What's the best campaign advice your father, former Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham, has given you?
To run a good campaign that is focused on what the people of the 2nd Congressional District need and the type of representation that they deserve and to listen to the people and to listen to what their concerns are. And then when I'm in Washington, making sure that that is my primary objective is to help them.