Bernie Sanders backs Andrew Gillum for Governor - Florida Politics

Bernie Sanders backs Andrew Gillum for Governor

Andrew Gillum has earned a big-time endorsement in the Florida Governor’s race, as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced he is supporting Gillum’s bid for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders was seen as an icon of the progressive movement during his run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, he says Gillum is the best person to carry that progressive mantle forward in Florida.

“As governor, Andrew Gillum will work to provide health care for all through a Medicare-for-All program, raise the minimum wage to a living wage, invest in sustainable energy, improve education, make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and be welcoming to immigrants,” said Sanders.

“Andrew has never backed down from a fight, including beating the NRA and standing up against xenophobic politicians. Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida — a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests.”

Though Sanders ran in the Democratic Party primary in 2016, he officially identifies as an independent. He describes himself as a “democratic socialist.”

It’s an honor to have Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsement in this campaign,” said Gillum.

“He has been an unapologetic fighter for everyday working people standing up to the special interests. From Medicare-for-all, to a $15 minimum wage, his ideas and platform have become the Democratic Party’s north star on economic justice for those who need it most.”

Sanders was recently named the most popular senator in America, according to Morning Consult.

Whether that popularity will translate into a boost for the Gillum campaign remains to be seen. But he needs a jolt, if polls are any indication. Recent surveys show Gillum near the bottom of the five-candidate Democratic field.

Sanders’ endorsement, however, is energizing those already supporting Gillum. Several spoke out after hearing the news.

In 2018, we need to nominate a Democrat for Governor who has the progressive vision, energy and record to motivate voters who sat out previous elections,” said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who founded and leads the state Legislative Progressive caucus. He’s also endorsed Gillum in the primary battle.

“Like Bernie, Mayor Gillum has never shied away from his progressive values, and he is the candidate who can unite this party and consolidate a winning coalition this November,” added Smith.

“Senator Sanders called for a political revolution, and that’s exactly what we will get by nominating Mayor Andrew Gillum,” added state Rep. Shevrin Jones. “We need candidates across this country to improve the lives of marginalized people. With Andrew Gillum primed to win in August and November, we will finally have a governor who would invest in our communities and put our people first.”

Gillum says he is ready to lead, should voters make him the state’s first Democratic Governor in 20 years.

As Governor, I promise to get up every single day ready to fight for a state that puts working people first; that makes affordable health care a right for every Floridian; and a state that is powered by its people.”

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.
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