Less than 12 hours after winning the Democratic nomination for governor, Andrew Gillum found himself the target of a Twitter attack from President Donald Trump. The president called Gillum “a failed Socialist Mayor” and said, “This is not what Florida wants or needs!”
Appearing Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the Tallahassee mayor said he refuses to be baited by Trump during this Fall’s campaign for governor against Trump-backed Republican nominee Ron DeSantis.
“We believe we’ve got to talk to Floridians, and largely to Floridians who have chosen not to participate in the political process because they don’t believe in it anymore,” Gillum said on MSNBC.
“Talking about Donald Trump, and reminding folks of how bad he is and how unqualified he is for the job that he holds, doesn’t do anything to assure that they’re able to make ends meet, it doesn’t do anything to assure they get access to health care, a good education system, and 21st-century transportation, and a clean and good environment,” Gillum added.
Gillum said what he plans to do during the campaign is to stay “super-concentrated” on the daily experiences of Floridians and what ;he can do as governor to make their lives better.
Just months ago, Gillum and DeSantis were considered long-shots for their parties’ gubernatorial nominations. But then came Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis in June which almost immediately changed the complexion of the Republican race.
Gillum’s victory Tuesday night was a surprise to many, except to Gillum and his campaign team. In recent days he talked of a voter surge and sounded confident about his chances of winning the primary. After the polls closed Tuesday night, it didn’t take long for Gillum to move out to a 3-point lead over Gwen Graham, who was considered the front-runner.. It was a lead he would maintain throughout the night.
Gillum embraced the title of progressive — winning the endorsement of U.S.Sen. Bernie Sanders. It’s a label that DeSantis will be sure to play on during the campaign.
“He is the most liberal candidate that the Democratic Party has ever nominated in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said on Fox News. “This guy can’t even run the city of Tallahassee.” DeSantis was making reference to an FBI investigation into allegations of public corruption in Tallahassee city government. Gillum insists that he is not a target off that investigation.
“Ron DeSantis can talk about race, and liberalism and whatever he wants to. I’m going to be clearly focused on the issues that confront every-day Floridians,” Gillum said.