Bernie-backed progressive Andrew Gillum will face a Trump-styled Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida's governor's race

Florida's high-stakes gube...

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 5:10 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 5:10 PM

Florida's high-stakes gubernatorial race will be fought between a progressive Democrat vying to become the state's first black chief executive and a Republican congressman closely allied with President Donald Trump.

In a late primary season shocker, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum defeated the front-runner, former Rep. Gwen Graham, who had led in the polls for most of the campaign. He emerged from a field of five competitive candidates, in which he was the only non-millionaire and only supporter of "Medicare for all" single-payer health care, to become the state's first black gubernatorial nominee.

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"The point has never been lost on me that my name on the ballot is simply a vessel, is simply the name,' Gillum told a raucous crowd of supporters in Tallahassee on Tuesday night. "But what is underneath that name are all the issues that we care so deeply about."

Gillum will face Republican nominee Rep. Ron DeSantis, setting up a clear ideological battle between progressive Democrats and a Trump-styled Republican in a major presidential battleground state.

In a statement Tuesday night, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for Gillum in Florida earlier this month, cheered the 39-year-old's "vision" and cast him as an emerging leader in the broader progressive movement.

"No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own," Sanders said. "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 is helping to lead it."

Meanwhile, Trump was tweeting his congratulation to DeSantis, touting the congressman's "fantastic win."

"Ron will be a fantastic Governor," Trump wrote. "On to November!"

DeSantis was quick to credit the President when speaking after the results came in.

"I'm not always the most popular guy in D.C., but I did have support from someone in Washington," he said on Tuesday night. "If you walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, he lives in the White House with the pillars in front of it."

If the primary was any indication, Democrats in Florida and from around the country seem ready to line up behind Gillum and spend to end two decades of Republican rule in the largest swing state.

Democrats in the race, including billionaire Jeff Greene and the wealthy former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, splayed out more than $100 million for the chance to wrest back control of the governor's mansion. Gillum got a late boost when liberal megadonors Tom Steyer and George Soros led a group that donated $650,000 to his affiliated political action committee.

As the primary neared, progressive groups -- Indivisible Action, The Collective PAC, The New Florida Vision PAC and the Sanders-inspired Our Revolution among them -- banded together to invest an additional $3.5 million in get out the vote efforts supporting Gillum, who campaigned as an outspoken critic of the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" gun law, which he said at a protest earlier this month "has no place in a civilized society."

Progressive organizations that backed Gillum from early on, when he was struggling to crack double digits in the polls, celebrated his win as their own as the projections rolled in.

Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, which came out for Gillum back in May, called Gillum's success "proof positive that there's a progressive revolution underway, and the old guard establishment can either get on board or get out of the way."

Indivisible, the increasingly influential grassroots group formed in the aftermath of the 2016 election, called the primary results a rebuke to Democratic leaders' conventional wisdom about the state.

"For decades, pundits have acted like the way to win statewide in Florida is to run white, cautious, centrist candidates," said the organization's national political director, María Urbina, who touted local chapters' who lined up early behind Gillum because he "matched their values and embraced an unapologetically progressive platform."

In his remarks on Tuesday, Gillum also said expanding Medicaid to the estimated 700,000 people who would qualify under the Affordable Care Act would be among his top priorities if he won in the fall, a Democratic priority that has been stymied by state Republicans.

DeSantis, who cruised to victory over state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, ran a campaign focused closely -- some critics said almost exclusively -- on his support for Trump. He made headlines with an ad, narrated by his wife, that featuring him building a "wall" (of paper blocks) with his young daughter and appearing to read from Trump's book, "The Art of the Deal," to his son.

Trump campaigned for DeSantis at an event in Tampa late last month, then tweeted his support again on Monday, calling him "a special person who has done an incredible job."

Putnam was endorsed by state Attorney General Pam Bondi, an early Trump backer.

But in a year when the President's support has been all but required for Republicans running in contested primaries, there was no substitute for the White House itself.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
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Columbus
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