Facing a difficult re-election in a district that became significantly more Republican in recent redistricting, Florida Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham announced in a video message Thursday that she would not seek a second term in Congress and is instead weighing a gubernatorial bid.
"Our state government is just dysfunctional, and this causes me to rethink how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state," Graham says in the video. "Floridians are hungry for new leadership — and I'm so excited to tell you, first, I'm seriously considering running for governor in 2018,"
Democrats are expected to net one seat from Florida's new map. The removal of some of Tallahassee's black voters from Graham's 2nd District would have made it nearly impossible for her to hold the seat. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call now rates the seat Safe Republican. In 2014, Graham narrowly unseated GOP Rep. Steve Southerland.
This year, physician Neal Dunn and Mary Thomas, a former in-house counsel to GOP Gov. Rick Scott, are the top Republican contenders.
Graham uses her two-minute video to tout some of her congressional accomplishments and to set the stage for a statewide platform.
"It's time to remind the legislature, governor and lobbyists that when they come to the state Capitol, they're in North Florida, and we have a certain way of doing things here," Graham says in the video.
"We govern in the sunshine, we serve the people, and we care for our neighbors. We call it the North Florida Way, and it's missing in the state Capitol. Working together, we can bring common sense back to Tallahassee, and make our state work for the people again."