The race to be Florida’s governor is shaping up to be a nutshell of the nation’s politics.
On the right is ardent Trump supporter and hard-line conservative Rep. Ron DeSantis, who ran an ad where he can be seen building a wall with his daughter and reading Trump’s book to his son. On the left is Andrew Gillum, the progressive 39-year-old Tallahassee mayor backed by Bernie Sanders. Thanks to an upset victory over the centrist Democratic candidate, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Gillum could become the first African-American to lead the Sunshine State.
As Florida went for Trump by just 1 percentage point in the 2016 presidential election, it’s hard to say who will win the governorship in November. What’s clear, though, is that the Democratic party has a potential new star in the making.
Here are a few things to know about Andrew Gillum:
- Background: Gillum grew up in Miami where, according to his campaign website, his mother drove a school bus and his father was a construction worker. He was the first in his family to graduate college, attending the traditionally black Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. He is married and has three children.
- Early achievements: While still in school, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, before running for mayor. There is an ongoing corruption investigation into the Tallahassee government, but it clearly did not sway voters.
- Progressive platform: Gillum frequently said he was the only “non-millionaire” in the gubernatorial race, according to the Miami Herald. His campaign platform includes Medicare for all, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, legalized marijuana, and staunch opposition to Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law.
- Broad support: Gillum’s win was aided by a substantial get-out-the-vote effort, aided by donations from liberal third-party groups such as The Collective, a super PAC, and from billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros.
- Next steps: Florida Democrats are now lining up with Gillum, who must choose a lieutenant governor in the next week. Graham, who Gillum bested in the primary, said, “Andrew, go out and win this damned thing.”
The progressive movement is transforming the country – and he proved that again tonight.
Gillum ran on Medicare for All, Legalizing Marijuana, #AbolishICE & more.
Thank you, Florida voters!
On to November ???????????? https://t.co/8keyzxVmcf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) August 29, 2018