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Florida primary gives progressive Dems momentum

Elections The 45th

Florida primary gives progressive Dems momentum

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A progressive Democrat candidate for Governor in Florida scored a somewhat unexpected win in that state’s primary election Tuesday.

Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum marched into Tuesday’s primary as an underdog despite receiving the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). Gillum knocked off former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Florida), the daughter of popular former Governor and Senator Bob Graham with 34 percent of the vote to Gwen Graham’s 32 percent.

Some polls prior to Tuesday had Gillum running in third behind Graham and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

“What has made Andrew’s campaign so powerful is that he’s not just working hard to win an election, he has laid out a vision for a new course for the state of Florida and our country. No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own,” Sanders said in a statement following the election results, as reported by The Hill. “Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum his helping lead that.”

Gillum’s win came just two months after fellow Democratic progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s primary, knocking off long-standing incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York).

“What we are clear about is that we can run wholly on our values; that we can talk to people in a common sensical way about the issues that confront them,” Gillum said. “

Gillum will square off with Rep. Ron. DeSantis (R-Florida) for the governor’s chair being vacated by Gov. Rick Scott, who is term-limited. DeSantis was endorsed by President Donald Trump, meaning the governor’s race will feature a pair of polar opposites in terms of populist agendas.

ron-desantis-builds-team

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) won the GOP gubernatorial primary in Florida.

During the primary campaign, Gillum focused on a progressive policy agenda that included “Medicare for All” and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. If elected, Gillum would be the state’s first black governor.

“We have been working for 18 months, tirelessly, really moving around this state in retail fashion,” Gillum said. “We talk to everyday voters about the issues that confront them. We talked about paying teachers, health care for all, insuring that people who work one job make enough on that one job to take care of themselves without having to work two and three jobs.”

He suggested that because Florida Democrats had long backed traditional candidates for governor, that effectively locked the party out of the governor’s chair for nearly 20 years.

Trump went on the offensive against Gillum on Wednesday, proclaiming that the state didn’t need a “failed Socialist Mayor” to be the next governor.

On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted congratulations to DeSantis, suggesting he would be “a fantastic Governor.”

Florida is viewed as a swing state that Trump won by just two percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

Matthew Clark is an Executive Editor for theDailyLead.

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Matthew Clark

I am a veteran journalist with 20 years experience covering sports, investigative journalism, news and editorial writing. Looking to write for myself.

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