Several democrats look to win Florida governor’s seat

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Democrat has not sat in the governor’s office in Florida for two decades. Five candidates are trying to change that. 7’s Joe Roetz is introduces us to the Democratic candidates going for governor.

As Gov. Rick Scott gets ready to leave office, Democrats are hoping to take the reins in Tallahassee for the first time in 20 years. Right now, five Democrats are competing to go against a Republican challenger. They are:

Attorney and daughter of a former governor Bob Graham, Gwen Graham.

Gwen Graham: “I’m a mom, former PTA president, public school official, and I served Florida in Congress. This is not a drill. It is time to take our state back.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Andrew Gillum: “I am the only non-millionaire running for governor. I’ve got a mortgage, and we’ve got three kids that we work hard to take care of.”

Palm Beach real estate billionaire Jeff Greene.

Jeff Greene: “I’m the only candidate running who started a school and understands intimately what’s involved in education.”

Businessman Chris King.

Chris King: “We have a real problem when it comes to winning the contest of ideas in Florida.”

And former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Philip Levine: “What I think I bring to voters is someone that is the best of the private sector mixed with the best of the public sector.”

All of them squared off in a recent debate, tackling divisive issues like school safety in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Gwen Graham: “I have found a public safety statute, a Florida statute that allows the governor, whoever she is, to issue an executive order banning the sale of military style assault weapons. I’m gonna sign that order.”

Andrew Gillum: “The governor and legislature failed in their attempt to address this. They passed a law and then failed to fund it. At the same time, they have moved more and more of our public dollars out of public schools.”

Jeff Greene: “We need to have our schools, we’re gonna have to change the way we have our schools — single entry schools. We’re gonna have to have armed guards, but we can’t have teachers with guns the way Rick Scott has proposed.”

Chris King: “I’m so proud that our campaign has offered one of the most ambitious policies in this race for governor, what many have called a ‘bullet tax’ to protect our children.”

Philip Levine: “My vision, my idea is to create an ESA, an Education Security Administration, that we fund fully to secure our schools.”

Then, attention also turned to how a democratic governor would foster a relationship with President Donald Trump, a Republican.

Chris King: “We need a governor who stands up with courage and integrity and vision. That’s what Donald Trump demands.”

Gwen Graham: “We’ve had presidents, Republican party, Democratic party that we could all– maybe we didn’t agree with them on everything, but we knew they had the country’s best interest at heart. I don’t feel that way about Donald Trump.”

Andrew Gillum: “I am the only candidate on this stage who has actually called for the impeachment of Donald Trump.”

Sparks flying between Philip Levine and Jeff Greene, who’s had a membership at the commander in chief’s upscale Mar-a-Lago club.

Philip Levine: “My God, you went on and said he was a great guy, a great guy after an election where he literally mocked disabled people, he insulted every woman in America, a matter of fact he did worse than that. He told John McCain that he wasn’t a war hero; he was a coward.”

Jeff Greene: “I did exactly what President Obama did, what Hillary Clinton did the same day, and I said, ‘You know, we have to stand behind our new leader,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”

As the August primary approaches, Graham is currently leading in the polls.

Every Democratic candidate for governor is focusing on education as a priority: raising spending on students and finding a way to do it without raising taxes.

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