Despite an inauspicious launch to his gubernatorial campaign, one which included revelations that city money was used to buy campaign software, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is undeterred from his campaign for the 2018 Democratic nomination.
Gillum will make two advertised stops in Jacksonville, with the first being morning services at Bethel Baptist Church at 7:45 a.m.
Bethel is a traditional stopover for Democratic candidates, and this appearance will be pivotal as Gillum introduces himself to Jacksonville’s large faith community.
Sunday afternoon finds Gillum remaining in Jacksonville, for what organizers are calling one of “his first round of fundraisers in the First Coast.”
The event will be held March 19 at The Space Gallery (120 E. Forsyth Street), starting at 3 p.m.
Suggested donation levels are as modest as $50, though attendees are urged to splurge, donating up to $3,000 if so moved.
Gillum’s last public appearance in Jacksonville was roughly a month ago, during what can be called the pre-candidacy phase of his effort.
At that appearance, Gillum previewed a strategy: an “18 month view of engagement,” one that would be central to his strategy of going beyond supervoters to reach less frequent voters who lean Democratic.
Gillum described Democratic values being “under attack” in Florida for a long time, framing the 2018 election as a “real pivotal moment not only in the country but in the state.”
“My hope,” Gillum said, “is that after 20 years of turning the state over to the Republican Party,” that Democrats have a “fighting chance.”
To that end, engaging “black and brown” voters was key, Gillum said.
Gillum, during a conversation after his remarks, noted his belief that the race for governor won’t come down to who has the biggest regional base of voters, but “what the candidate is saying” and “energy.”
Energy is key. But so are contributions.
On Sunday, local Gillum partisans will have a chance to determine, with their pocketbooks, how much that energy is worth to them.