The unofficial start of the Florida’s gubernatorial general election, the day following the long Labor Day weekend, got underway Tuesday. The week will be marked by the candidates’ selection of running mates. Under Florida law, both Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum must announce their choices for lieutenant governor by Thursday.
The week could also be marked by the release of receipts by Gillum from two trips he took in 2016 that are part of the FBI’s investigation into alleged political corruption at city hall. Gillum insists he’s been told by the FBI that he’s not a target of the agency’s investigation. Although the longer the probe goes on, the longer it will continue to be a drag on Gillum’s bid for the governor’s seat.
The candidates have until Thursday to announce who their running mates will be in the November general election. Both campaigns have reportedly reached a short-list of potential candidates.
But, Gillum added to his list Monday when he commented on the possibilities during a campaign stop in Jacksonville. In a sort of an obligatory acknowledgement of his opponents in the primary contest, Gillum said some of those former rivals are among the possibilities — including Gwen Graham.
“Gwen is in the mix, of course,” Gillum said according to Florida Politics, adding, “I’d say anyone who ran for governor is also in the mix.”
Other names being mentioned as a running mate for Gillum include: state Sen. Lauren Book, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, state Reps. Kristin Jacobs and Amy Mercado, and Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay.
DeSantis reportedly has been considering possible running mates since early August, with, POLITICO Florida reporting on August 10 that the Republican had a list of eight possible lieutenant governor possibilities.
DeSantis’ short list now reportedly includes: state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, state Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Laurel Lee.
As for the receipts from Gillum’s two trips, the Democrat says he plans to release those in coming days. One of those trips was to Costa Rica that Gillum took with two friends, Sean Pittman and Adam Corey. It was during that trip that Gillum scheduled a meeting online with an FBI agent posing as a developer. The group reportedly stayed at a $1400-per-night villa, which Gillum says he paid for his share of, but has yet to produce the receipts.
The other trip was to New York City that Gillum took with Corey and an FBI agent who went by the name of “Mike Miller.”. Gillum says he didn’t allow Miller to pay for any of his expenses, but has yet to produce receipts from that trip.
Corey, who has been an associate of Gillum’s for years, is at the center of the FBI’s investigation. Gillum broke-off ties with Corey last year.