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Florida Governor Race: Is Progressive Democrat Gillum Ready For The Scrutiny He’ll Face?

Florida Governor Race: Is Progressive Democrat Gillum Ready For The Scrutiny He’ll Face?

As a long-shot, Gillum skated through the primary; that will not be the case as he faces Republican Ron DeSantis

The left’s enthusiasm about Bernie-backed Andrew Gillum Winning the Florida Governor Democrat primary may be misplaced.  Because his primary opponents were focused on President Trump, not on the Tallahassee mayor who seemed such a long-shot, Gillum sailed through the primary unscathed.  This will not be the case in his race against Republican Ron DeSantis, and the DeSantis team will have a lot to work with.

Gillum isn’t terribly well-known outside of Florida, but he’s a long-time Obama supporter, is backed by Tom Steyer and George Soros, and shares much of his campaign platform with failed Democrat presidential candidate and current Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

CNN reports:

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum will win the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida, CNN projects, scoring a major victory for the party’s progressive wing while taking another step toward becoming the state’s first black chief executive.

Backed by Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and a coalition of progressive groups, Gillum upset former Rep. Gwen Graham, who had led in the polls for most of the campaign. He led a field of five competitive candidates in which he was the only non-millionaire — and only supporter of “Medicare for all” single-payer health care. Gillum is the first black candidate to win a major-party gubernatorial nomination in Florida.

His victory sets up Florida, the biggest swing state in presidential elections, as a major test of the political atmosphere this fall. Gillum will face Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Trump-endorsed Republican, in a race that pits two 39-year-olds, who in many ways mirror their parties’ national moods, against each other.

. . . . Gillum’s victory, though, came as a stunner in a wide-open contest. Democrats in the race, including 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. Gillum got a late boost when liberal megadonors Tom Steyer and George Soros led a group that donated $650,000 to his affiliated political action committee.

This affiliation with socialist positions on everything from “Medicare for all” to “a $15-an-hour minimum wage and staunch opposition to the Stand Your Ground self-defense law” reflects the leftward lunge of the Democratic Party.  Their insistence on fielding progressives in battleground states may end up losing them key governorships.

The National Journal reports:

The public’s willingness to embrace progressivism will be tested in at least three other pivotal governor’s races in November [Florida, Arizona, and Georgia]. In an upset, Florida Democrats nominated Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, another Bernie Sanders ally who would be the first African-American governor of the state.

. . . . The difference in these campaigns is that unlike Hogan [in Maryland], the GOP nominees (especially Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp) are just as far to the right, potentially neutralizing the Democrats’ vulnerabilities. But all are running in more conservative states, including two Deep South battlegrounds where liberalism has always been a tough sell.

In fact, Republican operatives are already planning to unveil similar socialist-themed attacks against other progressive candidates. In Florida, Republican strategists note that the “socialist” label is particularly resonant with Hispanics, many of whom associate the description with the totalitarian regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. Even before the primary, Republicans spent money in Arizona against Garcia over his position on immigration.

Gillum: On the Issues

Gillum’s positions on the issues read like they came straight out of Bernie’s presidential campaign, with the exception of #AbolishICE, a more recent development that Gillum supports.

Indeed, Gillum’s proposals read like they came straight out of the socialist SJW handbook.  Examples include: “Community Connections Restorative Justice Program,” “Fair Share for Florida’s Future,” and “Family Friendly Workplaces.”

And like all such progressive socialists, Gillum offers no meaningful way to fund any of his budget-busting Utopian pipe dreams.  Florida does not have a state income tax, though as we can see from progressive states like California, a state income tax doesn’t come close to covering the progressive wishlist.

Here’s a sampling of his position and proposals on specific issues:

On Criminal Justice, Gillum is a proponent of “Ban the Box,” legalizing recreational marijuana, and reforming bail and sentencing guidelines.

On Jobs and the Economy, Gillum is full-on socialist progressive.  He proposes raising the corporate tax to 7.5% (despite the Florida Constitution requiring a supermajority in both state houses to raise the corporate tax above 5%).

He’s also pushing “The “Fair Share” plan calls for rebuilding our public schools, paying teachers a minimum starting salary of $50,000, investing in early childhood education programs, and investing in SHOP 2.0 and vocational training to help get workers the training they need for higher paying jobs.”

On Gun Safety, Gillum doesn’t call for the outright repeal of the Second Amendment; instead, he follows the Democrat party lead in chipping away at it with the standard fare: “a ban on assault weapons, large capacity magazines, and bump stocks; strengthening and requiring universal background checks for all gun sales; closing private sale loopholes; restricting gun access for the mentally ill and known foreign and domestic terrorists; closing the “Boyfriend Loophole” and prohibiting gun possession for those with felony and misdemeanor domestic violence and stalking convictions; and banning the purchase and possession of armor piercing bullets.”

There are problems with this that would justify its own post.  Suffice to say that he doesn’t explain how he’ll identify “known foreign and domestic terrorists,” but my guess is the SPLC would play a key role, and he doesn’t point out that his proposals would effectively require gun registration in Florida.

On Health Care, Gillum promises to expand Medicaid in Florida under ObamaCare, supports “Medicare for all,” and supports government funding of Planned Parenthood.

On Immigration, Gillum is pretty much for open borders, though he doesn’t explicitly say so.  He does say that he wants ICE abolished, “demanded [Governor] Rick Scott support S. 3036, the Keeping Families Together Act,” supports a “comprehensive immigration overhaul,” supports sanctuary cities, and has “forcefully defended immigrants from all around the world, including Syrian refugees.”

On Women’s Rights, (yes, he really does have an “on the issues” on this), Gillum supports “Equal Pay for Equal Work” and promises to hire women to his administration should he win.  He supports Planned Parenthood and is “the only candidate to propose a law protecting women’s access to no-cost contraceptive care under Obamacare.”  “No-cost,” of course, means that the taxpayer foots the bill, including the massive bureaucracy required to provide these “free” contraceptives.  We’d be better off if we could all buy a box of condoms and hand them out to women on the street; they’d be “no cost” to the women, and would save us billions.

He’s also an eco-warrior with Obama-style dreams of green energy investment and hefty carbon taxes/fees and a proponent of “debt-free” college (Bernie’s “free college for all”).  He sees K-12 teachers not as educators but as those who “mold, shape, and develop humanity.”

Gillum Scandals

Gillum is surrounded by controversy, including accusations of various types of wrong-doing and law-breaking.

Gillum controversially demanded that Governor Rick Scott “suspend” Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws because he sees “gun violence” as a “state of emergency.”

Gov. Rick Scott should declare a state of emergency and suspend Florida’s “stand your ground” law over a recent Clearwater case where the shooter wasn’t charged by police, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said Monday.

“The consequence of confusion over how ‘stand your ground’ is applied in this state can result in the loss of life of otherwise innocent people,” said Gillum, a Democratic candidate for governor. “It is in fact an emergency in the state of Florida when parents have to be concerned about their children or themselves being gunned down under the color of the law of ‘stand your ground.’ ”

. . . . Gillum, though, is the first to call on Scott to suspend the law. Under Florida’s constitution, the governor can only suspend a law during a state of emergency, which can last for 60 days. Gillum cited former Gov. Charlie Crist’s use of the provision to extend voting hours during the 2008 election as a precedent.

A retired police officer filed a complaint against Gillum for allegedly misusing taxpayer funds for his political campaign.

State Attorney Jack Campbell has launched an investigation into the alleged actions of the Tallahassee Mayor after receiving a complaint letter from a retired Jefferson County law enforcement officer and investigator.

Read letter here.

In his letter, dated March 2, Paul Henry, who said he is also a member of the Jefferson County Grand Jury,  requested a Leon County Grand Jury investigate Mayor Andrew Gillum for allegedly purchasing “several thousands of dollars of political software via public funds” and possibly committing grand theft under Florida Statute (FS) 812.014 and official misconduct under FS 838.022

He said, “Andrew Gillum, in his capacity as Mayor of the City of Tallahassee, a public servant, did violate FS 812.014 (2)(c) “Grand Theft” and FS 838.022 “Official Misconduct” by using at least $3,915 of public funds to obtain personal benefit, to-wit political campaign software and falsified the justification for said software.”

. . . . On February 23 [2017], Tallahassee Reports broke the story that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum had allegedly spent approximately $5,000 in city funds to purchase software from democrat campaign vendor, NGP VAN. That software was allegedly used in campaign email for Gillum in which he mixed “Office of the Mayor” letterhead with his campaign correspondence.

Gillum has also been named in conjunction with an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in Tallahassee.

According to the Tallahassee newspaper, three undercover FBI agents showed up in Tallahassee back in 2015, posing as out-of-town developers interested in pursuing opportunities in the state capital. . . .  While it’s impossible to say how far along the investigation is today, judging by the number of local businessmen spotted last month going in and out of a local federal courtroom with their white-collar attorneys in tow, indictments could be on the horizon.

. . . . Gillum’s most direct connection to this case is through a local businessman and lobbyist, Adam Corey, who appears to have introduced the FBI agents to a number of key players in the city, including Gillum. It’s unclear whether Corey believed the agents were developers when he made the introductions or if he was knowingly working with these undercover feds.

Gillum and Corey have known each other since their college days, and Corey served as Gillum’s treasurer during his 2014 mayoral campaign. In 2016, Corey reportedly set up a meeting at his Tallahassee restaurant between Gillum and the FBI agents (whom Gillum believed were developers). According to an email obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, Corey sent a calendar invite for that meeting while he and Gillum were at an exclusive, $1,400-a-night luxury resort in Costa Rica. Gillum says it was a personal trip in which no business was discussed, but ethics watchdogs remain unconvinced.

. . . . Corey also arranged a weekend meet up later that year in New York City, where he, Gillum, and at least two of the FBI agents took a boat ride and may or may not have attended a Mets game and seen Hamilton. Gillum, who was already in New York City finishing up business for a liberal nonprofit, was photographed on the boat with one of the agents, who went by the name Mike Miller.

That trip remains the subject of a state ethics probe. Gillum has declined to state publicly whether he attended the baseball game or Broadway play, which were mentioned in Corey’s digital invite to the group, but the mayor maintains that he paid his own way during the festivities and that the trip was “merely friends getting together” off the clock. “I have known Adam for 20 years and I had spent time with Mike who was, over the almost year that I knew him, someone who portrayed himself as a developer interested in investing in [Tallahassee’s] south side,” Gillum said in a statement last year. “No public money was used and no city business was discussed on the trip.”

The Tampa Bay Times has more on this trip.

Three of Florida’s Supreme Court justices are facing mandatory retirement in 2019, so the next governor may be making at least three appointments to the state’s highest court.  At this time, current Governor Rick Scott is arguing that he has that power despite his term ending 24 hours before the three justices’ terms expire.  It’s not clear how this will be resolved, or when, so it may also be an issue in this year’s governor’s race.

Florida may have gone for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but we’re still a pretty red state.  Once Gillum’s positions and scandals are known to all, and they will be in the coming months, it’s difficult to see how he wins.  Not impossible, but difficult.


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Media scrutiny is a one sided affair.

    Not from us, though.

    This stupid corrupt ass – we’ve had one odumbo, and America isn’t willing to go Round Two.

    Yep, the onus is on the DeSantis campaign to work their oppo research folder on Gillum and plaster it all over Florida. Their oppo folder on Gillum has to be bulging at the seams.

      DeSantis is my Congressman. I know that Ron is more comfortable being on FOX and being friends with President Trump. If he nationalizes this race which it appears it will happen this race gets ugly but it favors him because this is Florida and not Massachusetts. The biggest concern I have is that Ron does not know Florida issues and once elected he will see the Republican Legislature run the show.

        Republicans in Florida have a bit of a head wind to deal with.

        In 2016 Trump got 49%. Med pot got 71%. That means at minimum by simple math 41% of Trump voters voted for med pot.

        Republicans lost the 1932 election in part because they backed Alcohol Prohibition.

        I’d rather not see a repeat.

Heck, he’s not terribly known in Florida. I’d never heard of him until last week.

DouglasJBender | September 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm

I thought he was excellent in “The Lord of the Rings”.

He’ll still draw a partial bye because of his color, but I suspect that he’s about to have a colonoscopy the likes of which he’s never had before–they’re about to shove an electron microscope up there!

He’s only got a shot if this is a democrat wave year, but his presence on the ballot increases the possibility of a wave year, since the rest of the ballot offers nothing for black voters to turn out for.

Yawn. Yawn. The legislature is still going to be Republican.

Gillum already has the black vote locked up. Now he needs to sway white and Hispanic liberals. It appears that the strategy there is to continually play the race card. Anyone who does not support Gillum will be labeled a racist. The libs hope that all of Gillum’s negative baggage will be drowned out in the noise from the claims of racism and “white guilt” will swing enough votes to Gillum to see him elected. If that does not work then there is always vote fraud to swing the election.

Had the following disqus exchange the other day:

gospace • 4 days ago
Progressive? Oh- you mean Communist, but can’t say it. I’m sure he just locked up all the Cuban votes for the Republican. As well as those of the recent Eastern European immigrants.

•Edit•Reply•Share ›
BobbyPFalcon gospace • 4 days ago
A progressive or social democrat is exactly not a communist. You lowbrows seem to think you can project your utter ignorance onto others without consequence. Most people understand the difference and don’t appreciate gaslighting and childish bigotry…

Right. Exactly not a Communist. Sure. Neither is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Socialist, progresive, but she is exactly not a Communist. Yeah, right.

They cannot admit to what they actually are. And supporters will call you ignorant for calling them out.

Gillum doesn’t seem to understand which state he’s running in. Florida is almost the textbook definition of a “purple” state, one divided between Democrats and Republicans… but gun rights are also strongly favored. In addition, he’s going to get wrecked in any kind of debate trying to defend the increase in corporate taxes.

Occasional Thinker | September 3, 2018 at 9:24 am

Two things I would love to see Republicans do. First, use the BATFE form required to purchase a firearm for a voter registration form and see if any federal judge will declare it to be an unconstitutional form to exercise a right. Second, enshrine in law that any offense that results in the loss of constitutional rights results in the loss of all constitutional rights. I wonder how many Democrat votes would be lost through misdemeanor domestic violence charges/convictions?

I live in Congressman DeSantis’s District. Though I have met DeSantis many times and am a strong Republican, I want to see more from him then his FOX appearances and his friendship with President Trump via a tweet. Nationalizing this election favors Ron. If the race becomes about Florida issues (which it probably won’t), run will have his work cut out for him.

While I will vote for Ron DeSantis for governor it is not because he brings much to the table in Tallahassee or because the president asks us to, but because Gollum and the FDP is better matched in Europe then here in Florida.

This is going to be a clone of the GA governor’s race where there is an extremely liberal socialist black Dem woman running against a businessman who has actually accomplished something in his life. Of course, every black will vote for both and the liberal base will vote for the nominee no matter what. But the independents and the blue-collar Dems, if there are any left, will not vote for either one of them. The people of FL like their no-income tax status and the thought that this spendthrift will try to instigate one will doom him completely. I truly believe the days of promising everything to everybody are over for pols. The old “Tax the one percent” to pay for everything will no longer work.

I see this through a completely different lens. They know that Gillum can’t win race, so they are using the race to accomplish many positive things.

1. The idiots on the far left send in their money and they transfer the money to races where they do have a chance of winning;

2. The media gets a 24/7/365 opportunity to run with the narrative that socialism and all the other crazy BS they spew to morons is actually mainstream enough to win. They will deal with all the dazed and confused [snow]flakes after they “unexpectedly” lose the election by fund-raising off them a few more times;

3. They get to shake the tree to see who is actually stupid and compliant enough to recruit for their community organizing positions;

4. And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL….they must be terrified of a lack of people showing up for the next election. Economy is good, Dems are a bunch of old geezers that accomplish nothing…they need to inspire the people who WILL SHOW UP to vote DEM on the rest of the ballot positions – otherwise not only will they lose Gillum’s seat (a given) but they will also lose all of the down-ticket dems as well. Politics is local.

Bottom line is that the State power players aren’t going to send in the big donations for these races where there is zero chance of winning because they can see it’s money down the toilet. So this allows DNC to partner with the media to whip up the young and or foolish to send in their cash to feel good about how much they are doing to save the world from the mean people who make money and, like, all that other evil stuff.