2018 governor’s race

WATCH IT: Gillum concedes, again

Following a machine recount that failed to move him closer to becoming governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded — for the second time — to Republican Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ 33,683-vote edge over Gillum was the closest general-election victory in a governor’s race in modern history in Florida.

In a Facebook video posted Saturday evening, Gillum, accompanied by his wife, R. Jai, thanked supporters and conceded, as he did on election night, the race to his opponent.

 

 

“We said that we would fight until the last vote is counted. Obviously, we are now closing out the hand recount phase in two of the statewide races,” Gillum said, adding that he wanted to make sure that “as long as it was a legally cast vote, we wanted those votes to be counted.”

Gillum’s  announcement came hours before a 12 p.m. deadline for a manual recount in the races for U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner.

“Now that we are rounding that process out, R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” Gillum said.

The contest between Desantis, who had the backing of President Donald Trump, and Gillum, who was trying to make history as the Florida’s first black governor, was one of the most closely watched governor’s races in the nation. Gillum drew the support of progressive billionaires, including George Soros and Tom Steyer, and former President Barack Obama joined him on the campaign trail days before the Nov. 6 election.

Trump, who had repeatedly blasted Gillum on Twitter prior to the election and who called the Tallahassee mayor a “stone-cold thief,” showed the Democrat some presidential love, at least by Trump standards, following the release of the video.

 

“This election may be beyond us,” Gillum said, pausing and looking at his wife.

“Although nobody wanted to be governor more than me, this was not just about an election cycle,” Gillum, wearing an orange FAMU jacket, said. “This was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up again in our government, in our state, in our communities.”

Despite losing the election, the 39-year-old Democrat made it clear his political career isn’t over.

“We know that this fight continues,” Gillum said.  “More than 4 million of you decided that you wanted a different direction for the state of Florida. We want you to know that we see you, that we hear you, and that your voices will continue to power us as we still stand on the front lines, right alongside you, to make this a state that works for all of us.”

 

Trump ‘trash talking’ Gillum as a ‘thief’

As Sunshine State voters line up to cast ballots at early voting sites or hunch over mail-in ballots at home, President Donald Trump flexed his multi-million-follower Twitter muscle today in Florida’s closely watched governor’s race.

Trump’s already thrown his support behind DeSantis, who quit Congress to focus on his bid to succeed outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.

Today’s presidential tweet — which went out to his 55.4 million followers and was retweeted to who-only-knows how many more — is the latest installment of the GOP’s “crime & corruption” meme targeting DeSantis’s opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Gillum quickly fired back with a tweet of his own, repeating a mantra where he’s chided the president for failing to use the mayor’s @AndrewGillum handle (to make it easier for his  407,000 followers to be in the know about the presidential attacks).

DeSantis and his supporters, including Trump, are making hay of the drip-drip-drip of documents being released by Christopher Kise, a Republican lawyer who represents Tally lobbyist Adam Corey. Corey appears to be at the heart of a years-long corruption probe by the FBI into Tallahassee city government. The documents, released in batches by Kise, are in response to an ethics complaint lodged against Gillum. The records show that Gillum accepted a ticket from “Mike Miller,” a faux developer who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, to the Broadway hit “Hamilton” two years ago.

Miller also dropped nearly $5,000 on a fundraiser for a committee linked to Gillum, prior to the mayor officially joining the governor’s race. The committee never reported the contribution.

Despite being branded a “thief” by the president, Gillum has repeatedly denied that he’s done anything wrong, and he maintains he’s not the subject of the FBI inquiry.

As for the Sunshine State capital’s rep as “one of the most corrupt cities in the Country,” we’re not sure what metric arrived at that conclusion.

But, in a state where the last governor’s races were determined by fewer than 100,000 votes, Trump’s social media reach might make a difference.

And if his virtual self doesn’t sway voters, perhaps his actual self will.

The part-time Florida man is stumping in two Florida GOP strongholds this week, to boost support for Scott — who’s trying to boot U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson out of his long-held seat — and DeSantis.

Trump’s coming to Fort Myers Wednesday, and he’ll be in Pensacola on Saturday.

Mass. peeps raise dough for Gillum

A trio of Massachusetts mayors hosted a who’s who of rising Democratic stars at a fundraiser for Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate who’s facing off against President Donald Trump acolyte Ron DeSantis, in Boston last night.

Guest of honor Gillum was a no-show, due to flight delays, according to Gillum’s campaign staff.

But, judging from the photos, the candidate’s absence didn’t seem to curb the enthusiasm of his supporters.

The event at the UMass Club was hosted by Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, an African-American educator who made history last year by becoming the city’s first mayor, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera.

Screenshot_2018-10-03 Mayor Yvonne M Spicer ( Mayor_Spicer) Twitter

Yep, that’s lawyer Angela Rye, the political diva and CNN commentator, with Spicer. Rye was one of about 100 attendeees who showed up to help Gillum make his own history as Florida’s first black governor.

“Florida needs Andrew Gillum. Florida deserves Andrew Gillum. We are at a crossroads in our country. One road leads to chaos and division and the other leads to unity and growth for all. Mayor Gillum has shown excellent leadership skills as a voice for the citizens of Tallahassee. He has stood firm on education, gun control and climate change and his discussions that have led to “Ban the Box”, are just some of the work and policies that are a brand for Mayor Gillum. He’s a creative leader with a heart for the people of Florida. We support him here in Massachusetts and encourage Floridians to not only come out to vote but to vote for Andrew Gillum,” Mayor Spicer told Truth or Dara when we asked about the last night’s event.

Also on-scene was Ayanna Pressley (shown to the left of Spicer in the bottom-left photo), the Boston city councilor who made national news by toppling veteran Congressman Mike Capuano, who’s held the seat for two decades, in the September primary.

Pressley focused on minority and youth voters, a strategy that helped boost Gillum to victory in Florida’s crowded Democratic primary in August.

Dueling Dems go after Trump, cigar-toting Republicans in latest ads

Democrats Gwen Graham and Jeff Greene launched new TV ads this week, as time runs out before voters start casting ballots in the Aug. 28 primary.

Greene, the Palm Beach billionaire who lives next door to President Donald Trump, takes aim at his neighbor in one of two ads totaling a $2.7 million weeklong buy, according to Greene’s camp.

Or rather, Trump is the one taking aim in the ads — with his golf club.

The spot features the president swinging away on the golf course, and complains that “Florida taxpayers are paying for it — literally ” every time Trump visits the Sunshine State. The presidential drop-ins cost millions in overtime and road closures, according to the ad, in which Greene pledges “to put a stop to that, day one” if elected governor.

A second Greene ad’s more upbeat, and stars the candidate, his wife and his three young sons — Malcolm, Brandon and Cameron — he says are the reason he’s in the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.

Greene is a late entry into the crowded Democratic field, but he’s pledged to spend what it takes to move into the govenror’s mansion.

In her latest ad, Graham — who ousted former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland in 2014 and served a term in Congress before deciding to seek re-election after her North Florida district was redrawn — continued what appears to be a general-election strategy by going after Republicans.

“It has been really bad for Florida that, for twenty years, the Republican Party has been in total control. It’s these high-paid lobbyists that are in charge in Tallahassee,” Graham says while black-and-white images of GOP legislators posing with cigars on the floor of the state House flash on the screen.

Graham and Greene are facing off in the primary against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando entrepreneur Chris King.

 

Speaker-D Oliva backs DeSantis over Putnam

desantis-familyThe day of the first debate between Congressman Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Trump darling DeSantis snagged a major endorsement from state Rep. José Oliva, a Miami Republican who’s soon to be one of the three most powerful men in the Capitol.

DeSantis, a Palm Coast Republican who’s also nailed the support of the president, is trailing Putnam, who’s viewed as the “establishment” candidate as he’s racked up a ton of endorsements, in fundraising in the polls.

But the backing of Oliva, who’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, is a coup for DeSantis, an immigration hardliner running for governor in a state with a significant Hispanic voting bloc considered crucial for a November victory.

“Ron’s commitment to this country and the values that made it great are second to none,” Oliva, who lives in Hialeah, said in a press release that praises DeSantis’ military service.

Jose-Oliva-head-shot-croppedDeSantis is a Yale grad who got his law degree from Harvard, and served in Iraq alongside a Navy SEAL team. .

DeSantis “always puts America first,” Oliva said in the release.

“He’s a tax cutter, budget hawk, education reformer, and the rarest of elected officials in Washington, a demonstrated conservative,” Oliva gushed. “Florida has consistently shown what conservative governance can do for our schools, economy, job creation and quality of life. We must continue that legacy of conservative leadership and we can trust Ron Desantis to do that.”

Watch it: DeSantis and “the big man himself”

Days after snagging the endorsement of “the big man himself,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis launched his first campaign ad in his bid to capture the GOP nomination for governor.

DeSantis is trailing state Ag Commish Adam Putnam in the polls and in fundraising, but could have a priceless asset in the GOP primary: President Donald Trump.

The ad is “part of a $12 million ad buy between now and Election Day,” according to a release issued by DeSantis’ campaign.

Apart from the glowing praise from the president (called “the big man himself” in the 30-second spot) of DeSantis as a “brilliant leader” and a “warrior,” the ad highlights DeSantis’ resume as an Iraq war vet and JAG officer who “dealt with terrorists in Guantanamo,” is “100 percent pro-life” and who is “leading the charge against illegal immigration.”

Oh, and DeSantis also has “the guts to fight establishment politicians in both parties to drain the swamp,” according to the ad.

 

It’s official: Trump hearts DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been boasting for a while now that he’s got the endorsement of President Donald Trump in the primary battle with Florida Ag Commish Adam Putnam to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

But Friday morning, the president made it official, with a tweet to his gazillions of followers.

DeSantis’ campaign quickly issued a press release announcing the endorsement, which could be priceless in Florida’s heated GOP primary.

“We’re proud to have the full support of President Trump,” DeSantis’ campaign spokesman David Vasquez said in the release. “As a top conservative leader in Florida, taxpayer superhero and an Iraq veteran, Ron DeSantis will make a Great Governor of Florida.” 

Trump’s tweet on the heels of a Fox News poll that found DeSantis trailing Putnam by 17 points among likely Republican primary voters.

The poll also found that immigration was the top issue for Florida Republicans, followed by health care, the economy, guns, the opioid crisis, taxes, environmental issues and abortion.