Seven months ago they were their respective parties’ nominees for governor. Today, one is a highly popular head of state who is coming off a well publicized trade mission to Israel this week. The other finds himself further mired in a federal investigation that is looking into allegations of public corruption.
It’s a tale of two gubernatorial candidates. For one, it could be considered the best of times. For the other, it remains to be seen if it could be the worst of times after reports surfaced about a new subpoena being issued as a part of an FBI probe in Tallahassee.
It was learned Thursday that federal authorities have issued an expansive subpoena seeking information related to Andrew Gillum and his campaign for governor, as well as some of his associates. Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor narrowly lost last year’s gubernatorial contest to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
There has been speculation over whether Gillum’s campaign was hurt by claims made by DeSantis during the race questioning Gillum’s alleged involvement in a a federal investigation into Tallahassee’s community redevelopment agency that resulted in three arrests.
Gillum has maintained that he was never a target of that investigation which focused on activity that occurred while Gillum served as mayor.
That investigation included questionable gifts given by undercover FBI agents who took part in a trip to New York that included a boat tour of New York Harbor in which Gillum participated.
What makes this latest subpoena different is it covers information relating specifically to Gillum’s campaign for governor.
As first reported Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times, in addition to Gillum’s campaign and political action committee, the new subpoena also focuses on a Massachusetts-based nonprofit for which Gillum served as a board member. It also seeks information relating to an investor who contributed to Gillum’s campaign, and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a longtime friend of Gillum.
“When you run a campaign that puts the power in the hands of the people, and fights for change, it inevitably invites close scrutiny, regardless of the facts,” Gillum said in a statement. “We stand ready to assist any future review of our work, because I am confident we always did the right thing and complied fully with the law.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis continues to ride a wave of popularity among Floridians. One poll released last month showed the governor enjoying a high 62 percent approval rating.
DeSantis is coming off a nearly week-long trade mission in which he led a delegation of about 100 Floridians who focused on forming stronger bonds with Israel. The trip; featured a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It also saw the signing of several economic agreements with Israeli companies and universities.
DeSantis called the trade mission “successful.”
“It’s been very productive,” DeSantis added. “I think the relationship is going to continue to foster. I think my job as governor is to have those flowers continue to bloom and I think there are good things in store for us because of the relationship.”