The daughter of Florida political legend Bob Graham has announced she will run for Congress next year, taking on incumbent Republican Steve Southerland.
Gwen Graham, a lawyer and administrator in the Leon County school district, made the announcement Tuesday morning. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Congress is a dysfunctional mess," Graham wrote on her campaign website.
Southerland ousted Democrat Allen Boyd in the 2010 Tea Party wave, winning by a dozen percentage points. But he defeated challenger Al Lawson by less than six percentage points this past November. Lawson had represented Tallahassee in the state Senate, but had limited appeal in the other parts of the state's 2nd Congressional District that stretch east and west into the more rural, more conservative Florida panhandle.
Lawson is still considering a run in 2014, which could set up a heated Democratic primary. Gwen Graham, 50, has not run for elected office before. She was born in Miami Lakes, but moved to Tallahassee in 1978 as a teenager when her father was first elected governor.
Bob Graham served two terms as governor, and then three terms as a U.S. senator from Florida before retiring in 2004 following a brief run for the Democratic nomination for president.
S.V. Dte is the congressional editor on NPR's Washington Desk.