Gwen Gra­ham close to an­nounc­ing plans

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By An­thony Man Staff writer

Former Con­gress­wom­anGwen Gra­ham, who has been ex­plor­ing a can­di­dacy for gov­er­nor for much of the last year, in­di­cated Thurs­day she’s close to for­mally an­nounc­ing her plans.

“Iamvery ex­cited about what the fu­ture holds. And there will be a won­der­ful an­nounce­ment soon,” she said in a brief in­ter­view be­fore speak­ing at an Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety event in Fort Laud­erdale. “I just hope that peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate the mag­ni­tude of the un­der­tak­ing it is to or­ga­nize a gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paign. And that’swherewe are right now. We’re in the plan­ning stages. And soon the plan­ning will end and I’m look­ing for­ward to a won­der­ful fu­ture.”

She de­clined to de­fine soon, ex­cept to say that it “isn’t to­mor­row” and it “will not be two more months.”

Pem­broke Pines Mayor Frank Or­tis went even far­ther when he in­tro­duced her later at the kick­off lun­cheon to gen­er­ate en­thu­si­asm for the can­cer so­ci­ety’s 26th an­nual “jail & bail” fundraiser, dur­ing which peo­ple are sub­ject to fake ar­rests and mock tri­als.

Or­tis said the au­di­ence of about 100 was about to “hear fromthe next gov­er­nor of the state of Florida.” When Gra­ham got to the mic, she didn’t say any­thing to counter Or­tis’s pro­nounce­ment.

Two can­di­dates have al­ready de­clared their can­di­da­cies for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for gov­er­nor, which won’t be de­cided un­til the Au­gust 2018 pri­mary. Run­ning are Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gil­lum and Or­lando busi­ness­man Chris King. Mi­amiBeachMayor Philip Levine and Cen­tral Florida trial lawyer are con­sid­er­ing can­di­da­cies. And Tampa Mayor Bob Buck­horn has said hewon’t run.

A Gra­ham can­di­dacy is widely ex­pected. She de­feated two-term Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Steve Souther­land in 2014, one of only two Repub­li­cans in the coun­try un­seated in what­was anex­traor­di­nar­ily bad year for Democrats. She opted against seek­ing re-elec­tion last year be­cause a court-or­dered mid-decade re­dis­trict­ing made win­ning close to im­pos­si­ble.

The daugh­ter of Bob Gra­ham, the former U.S. se­na­tor and former Florida gov­er­nor, has one of the most ven­er­a­ble names in Florida pol­i­tics.

Gra­ham has been trav­el­ing the state, meet­ing with Demo­cratic ac­tivists and po­ten­tial sup­port­ers. Even though she’s not an of­fi­cial can­di­date, she’s do­ing the same kinds of things can­di­dates­must do. On Thurs­day, for ex­am­ple, she was ap­proached by Daniel Sohn, who an­nounced on Wed­nes­day he’s run­ning for state agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner. He in­tro­duced Gra­ham to his puppy, a 2-month old Ger­man shep­herd-peekapoo mix that he renamed “GG” two weeks ago af­ter Gra­ham. She du­ti­fully held the dog and posed for pic­tures with Sohn.

Her gu­ber­na­to­rial plan­ning has been slowed by the sub­ject she dis­cussed at the Can­cer So­ci­ety event: Hus­band Steve Hurm’s can­cer di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment.

Gra­ham, who had a grand­mother and cousin die of can­cer, said the sub­ject has “be­come in­cred­i­bly per­sonal for me.”

Her hus­band was di­ag­nosed with Stage 4 prostate can­cer last year. Af­ter treat­ment, she said the fam­ily learned re­cently that he’s in re­mis­sion.

GWEN GRA­HAM/COUR­TESY

Gwen Gra­ham spoke Thurs­day at an Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety event in Fort Laud­erdale.

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