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Andrew Gillum Overcomes 4 Governor Candidates to Shock Florida's Democratic Establishment

August 28, 2018 - 11:45pm
Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum didn't just shock Florida, he shocked the nation Tuesday, scoring a major victory for the party's progressive wing, putting himself in a position to become the state's first black governor.

Gillum's fortunes against wealthier, better funded opponents began to turn after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a coalition of progressive groups threw their support and money behind him. Among them were liberal megadonors Tom Steyer and George Soros who donated $650,000 to his affiliated political action committee.

 With 34.2 percent of the vote, Gillum upset the daughter of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, a former congresswoman herself. Gwen Graham, who led in the polls for most of the campaign, finished up with 31.3 percent. In all Gillum outlasted a field of four competitors. He was the only non-millionaire -- and the only supporter of "Medicare for all" single-payer health care.

As Politico Florida wrote, Gillum was the only Democrat during the first debate who didn't blame farmers and the sugar industry in particular for the current algae crisis in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. He spoke about the poor communities around the lake who would be affected by increased environmental regulations and less farming.

"Andrew Gillum is rare kind of politician," one Democrat who voted for him told Sunshine State News late Tuesday. "He's a politician who considers the cost to real people, working families who are harmed when politicians prefer sound bites over real policy and slime an entire industry for their own political gain."

Democrats in the race, including Palm Beach County billionaire Jeff Greene and wealthy former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, spent more than $100 million for the chance to wrest back control of the governor's mansion, which has been in Republican hands for two decades. 

As the primary neared, progressive groups -- Indivisible Action, The Collective PAC, The New Florida Vision PAC and the Sanders-inspired Our Revolution among them -- banded together to invest an additional $3.5 million in get-out-the-vote efforts supporting the Tallahassee mayor.

Gillum campaigned for a $15 minimum wage and as an outspoken critic of the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, which he said at a protest earlier this month "has no place in a civilized society."

In a statement Tuesday night, Sanders cheered Gillum's "vision" and cast Gillum as a leader in the broader progressive movement:

"No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That's what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it."

Jeff Greene, who recorded 10.1 percent of the vote, said this when the night ended: 
"I don’t regret a moment or a dollar spent on this election. Having been blessed with great success, there is nothing more important for me than investing time and resources in addressing the problems of Florida’s most vulnerable. I’ll forever be grateful for this summer spent with my kids traveling across this beautiful state, meeting people from all walks of life, sharing ideas, and fighting to create pathways for everyone to thrive.
Continued Greene, "I want to congratulate Andrew, Chris (King), Gwen, and Philip on running great races and sharing important ideas for Florida. Now, looking toward the general election, I am proud to get behind our nominee, Andrew Gillum. Andrew is a progressive young leader who brings voice and vision for Florida, and I support him 100 percent. I wish Andrew and all Democrats luck as our party works together to defeat Republicans at the polls in November. ..."

Leslie Wimes, founder of the Democratic African American Women Caucus, penned several oped columns in Sunshine State News prior to the election predicting Gillum would win. (See here, here and here.)

"While the mainstream media chose to write off Andrew Gillum because his bank account wasn't as deep as others, or his last name wasn't as famous, I, and people who had more of an ear to the ground knew Gillum could and would win.

"Just like people underestimated Gillum, Florida pundits underestimate those of us who have valuable input in the political climate. I was right about what would happen in the Clinton race, and I was right about what would happen in the Gillum race. At some point the status quo has to acknowledge that they don't have all the answers, and they should listen to what we have to say."

A Change Research poll of 1,178 likely Democratic primary voters (including 241 early voters), conducted from Aug. 18-19 and released last week showed Gillum winning the Florida Democratic primary with 33 percent of the vote. Change was the only pollster to predict Gillum’s stunning victory Tuesday.


Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Registered Dem here who voted Graham. Guess I’m going to have to hold my nose and vote for DeSantis. Bill Nelson, however will get my vote. He should have ran for Governor.

Ah, yes . . . . . two Democratic African-Americans and a woman running for statewide office . . . . . . let the belittling, demeaning and racist comments begin from the right (i.e. see below for an example) . . . . . . and do keep up with your chosen leader who has already made his own "monkey" comment about Gillum today . . . . . . . can't wait for all those recycled witch-doctor images recycled from past Obama runs . . . . . . . . . why can't the GOP run on the issues, science and the facts . . . . . . and not name-calling and personal attacks (i.e. watch this spot) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PATHETIC . . . . .

First off, you won't here this from conservatives. They deal in positions only. Second, Two keys to gillum's win: 1. Without Green and Levine Graham wins. With them, her votes go to them. 2. Dems voting for Dems . All are libs, so once that criteria is set, skin color becomes the next criteria. Gwen Graham being a woman is 2nd behind skin color in the left's identity politics.

Gollum has also publicly stated the also wants a 40% increase in corporate taxes, that will go well. I wonder if he spent any time in Venezuela?

Hide and watch... he'll be looking for a new job after election 2018.

Gillum likely won't win the gubernatorial election at this point in time ... but his win in the primary is definitely a sign of things to come as the current crop of non-college-educated white 'Boomer' retirees peters out and as the state population becomes much more diverse in terms of the growth of the Hispanic, African-American, and younger populations.

To all the Republican Trolls out the zen master said " we shall see" but don;t count your Trumpester as Governor just quite yet !

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. Once the cult of the Tea Party/Sarah Palin/Trumpnuts peters out, as it will, the social democrats will have their day, even here!

Only the dopey Dems would elect somebody to the left of Carl Marx. Like someone said above, this ain't Vermont. Not yet anyway. I see those morons in Coward County re elected the same people that got their kids killed. Only in Floriduh.

So ... you prefer someone to the right of Joseph Stalin? Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.

YIKES! On the other hand, Gillum and Shaw could bring out enough folks who frequently don't vote to drag Bill Nelson across the finish line. Issue number one should be immediate restoration of the environmental component of the water management districts eliminated by Scott and use of eminent domain (as suggested by Nelson) to acquire the necessary land to build the reservoir the clean up our water so the talking can stop and the action can start. Gillum's position per this article, disturbing.

What does a moderate independent do? Bernie or Trump. Thanks closed primaries!

You can always change your party affiliation from one to another for the primary and then return to the original party. Problem solved for the primary.

Agreed. Closed primaries do a disservice to the people of Florida. We are getting far right and left candidates instead of moderates.

Save a few GOP senators, such as Collins and Murkowski, supreme distrust between conservatives and liberals generally allow few opportunities for moderates to emerge. Only when compelled by political expediency does either group move kicking and screaming toward the middle. Former president Clinton is obvious - and maybe, the lone - example of a committed liberal jumping off of his perch to bridge ideological gap with Republicans and remain in office.

The transformation of the DEMONcratic Party into a radical liberal haven bent on not just wealth re-distribution but outright reformation of our core values they no longer embrace let alone respect, is at hand. Which stands in stark contrast to the conservative to middle of the road voters who may show up in enough numbers to overcome this threat to democracy and capitalism on the local, state and federal levels. Let's pray that is the case or we will be force by political correctness to call each other 'comrade' (lower case intended).

Do you really think that Donald Trump has a set of admirable "core values" that you would like your kids to embrace?

As is the destruction of the Conservative party into one of populists ran by the biggest personality, devoid of governing ideals and principles.

Gillum is poison and is slicker than a snake oil salesman. I live in Tallahassee and have followed him. He did things as mayor that other employees have been fired for or at least forced to resign. Tallahassee city report #0820 is a good example.

Almost assuredly, Gillum is not as poisonous or as slick as the current "Snakeoil-Salesman-In-Chief".

It's NOT that "American socialist godfather" Bernie Sanders 'endorsed' Andrew Gillum,... It is SIMPLY that ALL of Andrew's "competitors" were sub-par "wannabees" with poor records & resumes' and no insight nor plans to inspire: (Sander's endorsement, is actually the "Kiss Of Death" to left-leaning Democrats (and their "history of community destruction".....)

And exactly what "insight" or "plans to inspire" did DeSantis elucidate during this campaign ... other than blatantly kissing Trump's ***?

Good Job Florida Demacrats! YOU BLEW IT AGAIN! Say hello to full GOP Rule for another 4 years! Gillum has non chance. This is not Vermont. He is under investagation. This is a worce pick then the GOP picking Roy Moore in Alabama. I am moving back to North East! Dems up there actually field good canidates and win. Good bye Florida your sinking anyway

Frank, I could not have said it better myself.

A fresh voice for Florida He will excite the electorate of our state! He will unite disparate wings of the Democratic Party He will articulate a clear vision for our state He will WIN !

He will tack to the center, and renege on the promises he had no chance of accomplishing, e.g., $15/hr for all, abolishing ICE, imposing taxes on corporations.

Dear God!! I hope not!! He is worried about the cost to farmers and Big Sugar but forgets that this horrific, destructive red tide has destroyed tourism and fishing in communities that depend on both! Talk about short-sighted!!

The "wings" of the Democrat Party have "folded, failed, and crashed" on THIS day in history... THOSE Democrat "wings" have gone the way of the "WHIGS"... ("back in the day" of Lincoln's presidency) ! [It's MORE than time for a 'rebirth of sanity' for liberal, progressive, Democrats and their "Pied Piper Media" herders directing them "over the cliff" on every opportunity..! ]

Yeah right . . . . . you mean that Democratic party you claim to belong to forever (or not, depending on your posting whim) . . . . . . as always, your strident claims, forever . . . . . . . PATHETIC. . . .

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