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Polls notwithstanding, Andrew Gillum still thinks he can win

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is facing increasingly long odds in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Despite the backing of Tom Steyer and George Soros, Gillum is outspent on the airwaves, and can only watch as poll after poll shows undecideds breaking to Gwen Graham.

It was 18 months ago in Jacksonville that Gillum said his race was predicated on an “18-month view of engagement,” yet with voting already happening by mail, and early voting beginning next week, Gillum is polling closer to Chris King than the other three candidates.

Gillum was in Jacksonville again Thursday, hosting a midday “chat and chew” at the Soul Food Bistro on Jacksonville’s Westside ahead of a forum on Jacksonville television. In a twist of irony, the local Councilman who represents the district containing that restaurant (Garrett Dennis) backs Graham, maligning Gillum for dirty campaigning via the Collective PAC — a leftie outfit that has hit Graham on Gillum’s behalf, using unaccountable money to do its deeds.

Regarding polling, he feels “great” despite the numbers.

“We still have a good number of undecideds out there. We’ve just gone up with our paid communications. People are now learning that I’m a choice in this race. I think we have a strong message. I think our grassroots capacity ought to be the envy of the other four candidates in the race,” Gillum said, noting that election day results can swing wildly from the polls.

“The only poll that matters is the poll on Election Day,” Gillum said, noting in the next breath that a poll from Associated Industries of Florida has him even “with the two candidates who have put the most money into this race … and we’re the only one of the three who seems to be going up.”

When asked about challenges reaching his base voters, Gillum offered the the major question is “around money.”

“The challenge has still been that there are people in this state voting in the primary who don’t know I’m in the primary,” Gillum said, a challenge he will deal with over the next 19 days.

Win, lose, or draw, he noted that he is “extremely proud” of having “run a race of integrity.”

“I really am standing on faith, and the hard work of our volunteers, that we will pull out a win,” Gillum said.

Gillum has no interest in being Lieutenant Governor, he added, should it be offered to him.

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Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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