5 Things To Know About Andrew Gillum, The Man Who Defeated The Odds To Be In The Running For Florida's First Black Governor
As he gears up for the race, here are a few facts to know.
Floridians headed to the primary polls on Tuesday to put its state one step closer to a potentially history-making November election. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum secured the Democratic nomination for Florida governor. If elected, he will become the first black man ever to hold the seat. An advocate for the impeachment of Donald Trump, Gillum's win is a massive victory for the liberal wing of the Democratic party. In a swing state like Florida, though, the road to the governor's mansion won't be an easy one; however, the 39-year-old proves that if anyone is up for the job, it's him.
As he gears up for the race of a lifetime, here are a few fast facts.
1. The underdog of the race, he beat former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who was also the projected winner, in a 34 to 31 percent win.
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According to The New York Times, Graham was the front-runner of the race, making Gillum's upset even more significant. More than just Graham, the Miami native also defeated five other opponents — three of whom had campaigns substantially more well-funded than his.
“My opponents have spent, together, over $90 million in this race. We have spent four,” he said. “Money doesn’t vote. People do.”
He also now has his former competitor's backing.
I want to congratulate @AndrewGillum. The truth is after 20 years of one-party rule, Florida simply can’t afford another Republican governor. That’s why I’ve pledged to do everything I can to help Mayor Gillum defeat DeSantis in November. Please join us in moving Florida forward. pic.twitter.com/qiI2xDjWkr— Gwen Graham (@GwenGraham) August 29, 2018
2. He's a Florida A&M graduate.
A product of FAMU, the campus is where he began his political career and met his wife, R. Jai Howard. Gillum was elected to the city commission of Tallahassee while still a student at the University in 2003. After holding the post for ten years, he was elected mayor of the city in 2014.
3. He has Bernie Sanders' endorsement.
An endorsement from millennial fan favorite Bernie Sanders serves as a testament to Gillum's politics. He has been vocal in his support for universal health care, legalizing marijuana and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
“We’re showing that we can bring together the Bernie Sanders wing of the party and the Hillary Clinton wing of the party,” Gillum said, according to The New York Times. He advises that Democrats cannot win by “trying to be Republican-lite.”
4. He'll now be competing against Trump-endorsed Republican Ron DeSantis in the election.
In a race of opposites, Gillum is going head-to-head against far-right DeSantis. DeSantis also made headlines in recent weeks for a wacky campaign video singing the 45th president's praises. Gillum, on the other hand, isn't afraid to let Trump know he doesn't want any smoke.
5. Making history is a task for which Gillum ultimately seems ready.
"Over the next several months, we are going to make our way all the way across the state of Florida – to red counties, to blue counties, to purple counties,” Gillum said at his victory party. “We’re going to unite this state in ways that are unparalleled in the history of the state of Florida."
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