Former U.S. Rep Gwen Graham submitted qualifying paperwork in her bid for governor Friday morning, becoming the first major candidate to file officially in the statewide race.
Though the official qualifying period for offices across the state is next week — from noon Jun. 18 through noon Jun. 22 — the state division of elections allows candidates to submit their paperwork up to two weeks early, to be processed when the window begins.
Graham, who has moved to Orlando to be more centrally located for her campaign, was joined Friday by her husband Stephen, who still lives in Tallahassee, and a group of about 40 supporters outside the Department of State building.
After submitting her paperwork, Graham addressed the group, many of them educators, and promised she would push for smaller class sizes, improving teacher salaries and ending "the high-stakes testing culture," to cheers.
"Public education is the backbone of all that we do in the state of Florida," she said. "It is the paramount duty of the state of Florida."
Other major candidates are expected to file their paperwork next week: Graham is facing off against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and businessmen Chris King and Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination, while Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are running to be the Republican nominee.