FLORIDA | FL-gov

Levine Launches Long-Expected Campaign

Gwen Graham led a poll of the Democratic primary.

Nov. 1, 2017, 11:35 a.m.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) announced Wednesday he will run for governor, pledging to fight climate change, advocate for a “living wage,” boost education, oppose partisan “bickering.” (Hotline reporting)

“Levine officially began his Democratic campaign … with the lack of subtlety that has characterized him over two terms as mayor of Miami Beach. He pointed to his political heroes, Cesar Chavez, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman. Literally pointed: He had them freshly painted in murals inside his cavernous Wynwood campaign headquarters, a building that last year housed Hillary Clinton’s Miami campaign for president.”

Levine: “Like America’s greatest generation, those heroes devoted their lives — even sacrificed their lives — to help all who would follow.” (Miami Herald)

“The 55-year-old Democrat will attempt to become the first mayor to lead the state since Tampa’s Bob Martinez did so in 1986, and comes into the race with some impressive credentials to introduce himself to Floridians.”

“The cruise industry is where he got his start, beginning as a port lecturer right out of high school, doing so well he later founded Onboard Media, a concessionaire that produced onboard TV advertisements, magazines, art auctions and more. As the majority shareholder, he ultimately sold that company for what has been reported as $300 million. In 2010, Levine was tapped by President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce Dept. to serve on a Task Force advising on U.S. tourism.” (Florida Politics)

Housing investor Chris King (D), the “lone Democrat in the gubernatorial race boasting an entrepreneurial business background … doesn’t sound fazed.”

King: “I can’t call a former President of the United States. I have not been part of this system (that) really has not been good for people. I am an entrepreneur, but I’m also a lifelong progressive, and somebody’s who really been (a) very strong Democrat.”

“That was an undeniable shot at Levine, who is on friendly terms with former President Bill Clinton, and also discussed the possibility of running as an independent earlier this year.” (Florida Politics)

WHO HE FACES. Former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) led the Democratic primary in a new StPetePolls (IVR) survey (Oct. 31; 1,796 Democratic RVs; +/-2.3 percent). “Graham sits at 31 percent, while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) stands at 13 percent. Levine is at 6 percent while … King is at 5 percent.”

Attorney John Morgan (D) had a 32-15 percent favorability in the same poll. (Florida Politics)

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell, and Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis endorsed former Rep. Gwen Graham (D). (release)

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