A Gwen Graham campaign swing through Tampa this week raises a question: At a time when liberal activism is re-energizing Democrats, is the party's primary for governor focusing on the two most conservative candidates?
Graham held a fundraiser in a tony South Tampa enclave Thursday night, then did one of her workdays at a mentoring program on computer coding and a public school in economically disadvantaged, heavily black East Tampa.
Along the way, Graham dropped some hints about how she sees the campaign – especially which Republican she'd prefer to face in November.
"I hope, please give me Ron DeSantis," she told a crowd of donors at the South Tampa home of public relations executive Tom Hall, filled with abstract paintings and glass sculpture.
"I would love to stand on a debate stage with Ron DeSantis and talk about our very different approaches to what we should be doing in the state of Florida."
In the primary, Graham's comments suggested she sees former Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine as her main competitor.
Graham and Levine make up the conservative side of the primary field.
He once flirted with the idea of running as an independent, and says, "I'm not left, I'm not right, I'm forward.''
She represented a conservative North Florida district in Congress and had a conservative voting record for a Florida Democrat, including votes critics said undercut parts of Obamacare — though she supported the program.
Graham had kind words for two other competitors to her left who've been trailing in most polls — Andrew Gillum, mayor of her home town of Tallahassee, and Winter Park businessman Chris King.
"I'm good friends with Andrew Gillum … I've known him for a very long time," and King "seems like a wonderful person," she said.
Her thoughts on Levine, who appears to be moving into second place to Graham, were less kind.
"He has the ability to put a lot of his own money into this race. But you know what I feel? I don't think the Democratic primary voters can be bought," she told the crowd.
"I think they're going to be looking for somebody that can win, because everybody recognizes the importance of this election."
In fact, lots of Democrats are looking chiefly for a candidate who can win. Several attendees at a Levine event in Tampa a week ago said just that, even though Levine was a hero to some in the environmentally-oriented crowd because of his crusade on climate change and sea level rise.
In that event, Levine also bluntly acknowledged a question he said was on voters' minds: "How can this Miami Beach Jewish Democrat win statewide?"
Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping for a 2018 surge based on grass-roots liberal and women's groups reacting against President Donald Trump.
DeSantis, a Palm Coast congressman spurred into the race by a Trump endorsement, "is going to run as the Trump candidate. He's hooking his train to President Trump." Graham said in an interview.
Graham said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam "is the most reasonable" of the GOP primary candidates, but, "The Republican Party, particularly in the Republican primary, has completely passed Adam by."
Of a third likely candidate, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who's becoming a bete noir for state Democrats, she said, "Don't even get me started on Richard Corcoran. … I don't even know how Corcoran sleeps at night."
Corcoran recently ran an anti-sanctuary city television ad showing a young, white woman being gunned down on while walking on a suburban street in daylight by a dark-complected man in a hoodie identified as an illegal immigrant.
"It's fearmongering," Graham said of the ad. "I'm embarrassed by it. We should all hold ourselves to a higher standard."
The event Friday was Graham's 51st workday, she said, while her father, former senator and governor Bob Graham, did 407.