Gwen Graham is likely to run for gov in 2018, but what about Bob?

With 2016 being such a, er, flamboyant year in American politics, the runup to the 2018 midterm election seems like a far-off utopia about which nobody cares but politicos and people over 65; everyone else will go back to doing whatever it is they do in non-presidential years. A distant dream? Yes, for most of us. But time is tight for those that actually hope to put a deposit on a Shop Vac to hoover up all the large, half-eaten insect carcasses current Governor Rick Scott leaves behind in the governor's mansion when he vacates in January, 2019.

There are, of course, many ruuuuumors about who is going to run. For Democrats, key names include Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. For Republicans, the list features the likes of Ag Secretary Adam Putnam and U.S. Senator-turned-failed-presidential-hopeful Marco Rubio.

There are probably more, but we stayed up too late watching the Better Call Saul season finale last night (yes, you can watch episodes online after they air), so our faculties are not entirely with us. It's OK, though, because first thing this morning, Graham (yes, daughter of Senator Bob-turned-Panhandle Congresswoman) announced she'll be leaving her Congressional seat in order to explore a possible run for governor.

"Florida is hungry for new leadership, and I'm so excited to tell you first that I'm seriously considering running for governor in 2018," she said in a video disseminated on YouTube. "Public servants must focus on the job they're elected to do, so I will spend the remainder of my term fully representing you in Congress. But I will not seek reelection while considering this next step of service."

Graham was one of several members of Congress who would face a tough reelection bid due to court-ordered redrawing of a handful of Congressional districts the Florida Supreme Court deemed drawn to favor a party or candidate (which has technically been against the law since 2010).

Graham's election to her seat in a 2014, in which she unseated Republican incumbent Steve Southerland special election was seen as a good omen to Democrats, who fought hard to sway voters in that swing district to favor her.

But with her district now ripped apart, there's not much of a path to victory for her. "Unfortunately, the politicians, lobbyists and courts in Tallahassee have been at work, too, redrawing and dividing up North Florida and the district I represent, turning what was an example of a fair district into two partisan districts. Our state government is just dysfunctional. And this causes me to reconsider how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state," she said.

So that means in about a year you may start being asked for your opinion via automated phone polls. A question you might get asked is your opinion of her versus that of Buckhorn, and maybe some other Democrats with potentially statewide appeal.

Being able to leave office in January 2017 to potentially focus on running gives her an edge, at least over the likes of Buckhorn and Putnam, we reckon: even if you don't see it on TV or nobody from her camp knocks on your doors for at least another two years, she'll be able to put energy into her race that those in office would not be able to, lest they, as Rubio was this year, get labeled a slacker who lives of taxpayer money but never shows up for work.

Like Buckhorn, Graham is a moderate Democrat who has actually caught fire from progressives critical of her siding with Republicans on a few key issues. But this probably appeals to the party establishment, as does her ability to beat Southerland in what should have been an easy race for him.

She or any decent Democrat will likely also be bolstered by the fact that we'll be coming out of eight years of Governor Scott's "administration," one in which nice things like environmental protection and public health saw inexplicably critical cuts (if they were paid any attention at all). Naturally, in her non-announcement, she emphasized her ability to reach across the aisle to, you know, get things done!

"I've helped pass commonsense reforms, clean up Congress and rally the Florida delegation and the local community to save Appalachicola Bay. And I've made constituent services my priority, returning more one million dollars that belongs to Florida veterans, senios and families, all while cutting our office's operating budget by ten percent."

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