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Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham Talks Polarized Politics In Florida

Andrea Perdomo
Former U.S. senator and Florida Gov. Bob Graham speaking with Michael Wynn of the Leadership Collier Foundation during a Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

About 100 people gathered in the Hilton Naples ballroom on Wednesday to hear former Florida governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham reflect on his years in public service and civility in politics during a Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce event.


Graham is the father of Gwen Graham, who lost in the democratic primary race for the Florida gubernatorial ticket two weeks ago.

Graham shared his thoughts on the upcoming gubernatorial race in which the candidates are Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is endorsed by senator Bernie Sanders and Republican Ron DeSantis who is backed by President Donald Trump.

 “This is probably the most opposite election that we’ve had in many decades in Florida,” said Graham.

Graham said both candidates will have to find a way to appeal to voters across the political spectrum.

“That is going to be itself a challenge because whoever gets elected is going to have the difficulty of trying to find the middle ground between two pretty distant positions to get things accomplished for the state,” he said.

Independent voters in Florida did not have a say in the gubernatorial race during the primaries. Graham advised the candidates to keep the moderate voter in mind as they move forward.

“The time for yelling at each other and being antagonistic is over,” he said. “If we’re going to solve problems, its gonna take collaboration and that’s going to take leadership to bring people that start at different points of view together to a common ground.”

The general election is November 6th.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.