Race for Florida's 2nd Congressional Seat Already Heating Up

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email
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It seems like elections were just the other day, but a battle is already brewing in the Pandhandle over Florida

Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County, Fla., school district, says she'll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Steve Southerland next year.

It seems like elections were just the other day, but a battle is already brewing in the Pandhandle over Florida's 2nd Congressional District.

Incumbent Steve Southerland found out Tuesday who at least one of his opponents will be. Her name is Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. She is a Tallahassee democrat with a law degree and is an administrator with the Leon County School District.

Tuesday afternoon, NewsChannel 7 sat down with both candidates and asked them questions on several hot topics. The first and most recent is the debate over gay marriage, an issue that had the candidates split.

"I've thought about this a lot. I have a daughter and two sons, and if they came to me and said that they were gay I would want them to have the same rights under the law as everyone else has, and I would want them to be happy and I would want them to be in a committed marriage with someone that they loved," said Gwen Graham.

"I have held strongly all my life that marriage is between one man and one woman. Regarding benefits and those kinds of things, a lot of times when you have someone that wants to come in and see you in the hospital, you should be free to make that decision," Congressman Southerland said.

The debate over gun control also continues to dominate the news. This issue both candidates appreared to agree on.

"I think the second amendment right is there to keep people honest, intruders honest, as well as to keep governments honest," Southerland told NewsChannel 7.

"I understand the peace of mind that comes with gun ownership. I certainly support the second amendment and I don't think that any law-abiding citizen should have any gun that they choose to have taken away from them," Graham said.

They also seemed to agree on the sequester.

"I voted twice for two different bills to replace the sequestration cuts with some other cuts that I think are smarter, so I'm not a fan of sequestration," said Southerland.

"We should have been able to find people who we could work together across the isle to find common sense solutions instead of this hatchet jobs that's been done to some of our programs," Graham said.

Bipartisanship also seems to be a part of every policitican's platform nowadays. Southerland gave himself a "B" grade.

"The Restore Act was a piece of legislation that is obviously important to the citizens that live along the Gulf Coast, and it's probably the best example of a significant piece of legislation where republicans and democrats came together, where I know I came together in agreement with Senator Bill Nelson," Southerland said.

"It's about governing, and I don't want to be in a position of grading Congressman Southerland," said Graham.

"Do you think you could do better?" asked NewsChannel 7's Bryan Anderson.

"Absolutely, I know I can do better," Graham answered.

This is expected to be an expensive and heated race. The democrats have already targeted Southerland as one of their top 10 republicans to beat in 2014.


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