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Andrew Gillum pledges to ‘stay high,’ avoid Ron DeSantis’ ‘gutter’ politics

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum pledged Wednesday to “stay high” in the race against Ron DeSantis, and avoid the Republican’s “gutter politics.”

Appearing on Shepard Smith‘s show on Fox News, Gillum was asked to address DeSantis’ contention Wednesdau on the same network that voting in Gillum would “monkey this up” — “this” being the state’s performance economically during the Rick Scott era.

Florida voters, Gillum said, are “sick of” that kind of coded appeal.

“In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They’re now using bullhorns,” Gillum said.

“We’ve got to make sure we stay focused on the issues that affect every day people,” Gillum said. “I’m not going to get down in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump. There’s enough of that going on.”

“I’m going to try and stay high, try to talk about what the … future is for the state of Florida,” Gillum said. “I think that’s what people want. They’re just so sick of this divisive, derisive politics that’s come out of Washington, and has now infiltrated the politics of this state.”

“Ron DeSantis, he’s very clear on day one that he’s willing to go down to the gutter, and in our opinion, we’re going to win this race because we’re going to stay high,” Gillum said, and “remind Floridians of what the true spirit of the American Way is.”

A DeSantis spox noted that the Republican “was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses.”

Whether that’s obvious to DeSantis or not, it’s more opaque to many on the left and in the center, who were reminded of former Sen. George Allen‘s reference to a campaign trail tracker as a “macaca” in 2006.

Allen lost his re-election in a “blue wave” year, and those comments at an August stop arguably sealed his fate.

Even the DeSantis-friendly Fox News distanced itself from the Republican’s comments, saying the network does not “condone” his language.

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 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

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