Although some Florida congressional Democrats have said it’s too soon to determine who they’re backing for governor, Alcee Hastings has seen enough to believe Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the best person for the job.
“We live in historically troubling times, and last year’s election result proved that the stakes are high. I feel it necessary to make my voice heard early in this process, so that Democrats and all Floridians understand what is at stake in the 2018 election,” the South Florida representative announced in a statement issued out by the Gillum campaign.
“For the last 20 years, under Republican rule in Tallahassee, communities of color across the state have suffered from a lack of job opportunities, poor access to quality public education, and access to quality and affordable health care. As Democrats, we need to make significant changes, and in this spirit, I believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum is the right choice to lead our state.”
In backing Gillum, Hastings becomes the first Democrat in Congress to choose a favorite in the race for the gubernatorial nomination, which won’t be decided for 14 more months.
The 37-year-old Gillum was the first Democrat to file for the race and has been traveling around the state to build up support. He’s running against former Tallahassee area Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King.
Hastings has served in Congress since 1992.
Gillum has already been endorsed by six Democrats who serve in the Legislature and picked up a national endorsement earlier this week from Democracy for America, a progressive organization claiming more than 97,000 members in Florida.