Democrats drumming up support for gubernatorial bids in 2018

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Florida and Georgia Democrats hoping to turn the governor's mansion blue this year are in our nation's capital tonight.

The candidates believe that even traditionally red states are within reach for Democrats, especially in the era of President Donald Trump. Washington Correspondent Alana Austin spoke to two of them today.

Democratic candidates say those on their side of the aisle are ready to turn out the vote and win in areas traditionally held by Republicans.

"We're really talking about a new wave and a new era of politics in our respective states," said Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Gillum says the GOP may control all but one state-wide elected office right now in Florida, but in 2018, that could change.

"we may not win every vote, but we may turn a few people who will say ' you know what? I want to give these folks a chance," said Gillum.

Gillum joined other Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls at a forum in Washington, DC's National Press Club Wednesday.

The candidates pitched a revamped Democratic strategy to get their message to voters in urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods.

"I think if you look at the last 15 years of Republican leadership in Georgia, it is time for change," said Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Georgia governor.

Abrams, former Georgia House Democratic leader, was the first woman to lead either party in the General Assembly. And she hopes to be the first black female governor in the country.

Abrams says she thinks more Georgia voters are willing to give Democrats a chance, especially with President Trump in office.

"Look at my record of being able to work across the aisle, to work with Republicans to get good done but to fight Republicans to defend our values," said Abrams.

Georgia Republican Party Executive Director Carmen Bergman responded to Abrams' visit to Washington saying, "We already know Stacey Abrams gets her cash from outside of Georgia, and now it looks like she has to get her press from out of state too. She has such little investment in this state that she is turning to Washington DC to set her agenda for Georgia."

Both Florida and Georgia have open gubernatorial seats as Governor Rick Scott and Governor Nathan Deal are term-limited.

Wednesday's talk was hosted by the People for the American Way, a progressive activist group.

Georgia's primary for governor is May 22nd and Florida's primary for governor is August 28th

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