Central Florida is a critical part of the state for candidates seeking statewide election. On Wednesday Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine appointed Jonathan Santiago to coordinate his campaign’s efforts in that part of the state.
Santiago is no stranger to the I-4 corridor having worked as an organizer in that area on two previous statewide campaigns — Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial bid in 2014 and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.
“I am fired up and ready to get to work to elect Mayor Philip Levine as our next Democratic Governor of Florida because his record shows someone who will fight for all communities, including mine,” Santiago said. “There is no doubt that the people are ready for change in the Governor’s mansion in 2018 and I am ready to put in the elbow grease and work hard to elect someone who will govern in a way that truly reflects the values of our diverse communities across our state.”
In making the announcement, the Levine campaign says Santiago “brings the experience and understanding of the region to build on Mayor Levine’s commitment to deliver on his progressive vision for Florida.”
“Jonathan is a veteran of Central Florida politics whose organizing and grassroots knowledge will enforce the campaign’s mission to reach voters in every community across the state,” said Levine campaign manager Matthew Van Name in announcing Santiago’s appointment. “We’re excited to expand our team with dynamic young talent that will allow the campaign to build momentum and continue its strategy of engaging with voters in all of Florida’s 67 counties.”
The importance of the I-4 corridor is evident by the fact that two of Levine’s opponents — Gwen Graham and Chris King — have made Orlando home to their campaign offices. Andrew Gillum held a rally in Orlando Tuesday evening.
The Capitolist’s HorseRace Index, which uses a weighted formula to arrive at an average of all the polls that have been taken to date, shows Levine atop the field of Democratic candidates with 14.2 percent. He’s followed by Graham who is nearly a percentage point behind, followed by Gillum and King.