Andrew Gillum Archives - Florida Politics

In Yom Kippur statement, Andrew Gillum vows to protect Israeli ‘safety and security’

Facing criticisms from Republicans of not being sufficiently pro-Israel, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum sought to clarify his position and allay concerns Tuesday.

Gillum’s platform: A statement from his campaign for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in which Gillum asserted “ensuring lasting safety and security for Israel is an unquestionable priority and that building peace is one of the great causes of our time.”

The candidate notes that the restorative concept of “tikkun olam” is “important and necessary in Israel, where the deadly cycle of violence incited by Hamas continued for yet another year.”

The Democratic nominee describes his own visit to Israel, where he “met Israeli and Palestinian children, who looked at me with the same hope in their eyes,” before again clarifying his position that Israel is besieged.

“I saw first hand how the threat of Katyusha rockets affected the everyday lives of Israelis — no one could deny that ensuring lasting safety and security for Israel is an unquestionable priority and that building peace is one of the great causes of our time,” Gillum asserted.

“Let us work together to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism. Let us look forward to the day when Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls will grow up with peace, security, and prosperity. Let us work together in the cause of peace, to stand with Israel and with all people yearning to be free from violence,” Gillum added.

As the Tampa Bay Times reported this week, Gillum has had to clarify his position on Israel.

While he supports the “two-state solution,” Gillum does not support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, despite having gotten money from the BDS-linked Dream Defenders.

He also has gone on record saying he did not support the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Blake Dowling: Social media shows the great (and ugly) of society, politics

This week, Tallahassee ABC affiliate WTXL27 stopped by the office to chat on one of my favorite topics — social media posts, specifically video content.

If I were to critique my own social media use, one might say I post too much. However, I try and stick to a once daily max for most platforms (Twitter being the exception).

I think one post a day is entirely reasonable.

In fact, I am merely trying to share things that were intended to be shared: columns, branding my company and (of course) very important pictures from our football tailgate.

Speaking of football, did you know if you asked Siri yesterday morning who is the worst team in college football, she said the Florida State Seminoles?

Very strange, as I think they are only last in FBS schools’ average points per game (5) they are not actually last in the rankings. Who knows where Siri gets her info.

The race for worst team in the state is on with the Seminoles currently in the lead, but that could change fast as the Hurricanes, Gators or Knights could catch up at any time.

We will see if Willie Wonka and the Warchant Factory can turn it around.

My chat with ABC started with kids and irresponsible online behavior, before moving to some more responsible use of video, and then corporations, celebrities and, of course, politicians.

We began the conversation with a local story about a man with a gun and some local youths. As of this writing, the man with the gun is still on the loose.

The youths were using video to defend themselves, documenting a situation where someone pulled a gun on them, and good for them, in other cases, people are using video very poorly. For example, this security guard was fired after his employer found this ridiculous video online.

Really? Paul Flart?

Meanwhile, a Florida Taco Bell refused service to a guest because she didn’t speak Spanish. The guest could have driven off and never said a thing.

Instead, they filmed the entire encounter to document what they were dealing with and shared it.

So, by way of the video, the story speaks for itself.

The woman did have a great sense of humor about it: “Isn’t Quesadilla, in Spanish, Quesadilla?”

Well isn’t it?

Politicians love their videos too. And not just pricey TV spots, but online content that gets a fine-tuned message out to the public.

Check out Brian Kemp for Georgia Governor; he combines his beliefs with some humor in this clip:

In Florida, Andrew Gillum’s team produced a more serious message about family and his childhood experiences.

I also chatted with Steve from ABC about the fact that instead all-day handful of news outlets, we now have literally millions. Everyone with a phone is a reporter and might have a story or (in the context of this article) video.

According to The New York Times … “People are broadening their definitions of what political leaders can look like,” said Teddy Goff, a co-founder of the agency Precision Strategies, a Democratic consulting firm, and President Barack Obama’s former digital director.

“A political leader,” he added, “can be a 17-year-old from Parkland or a 28-year-old who was a bartender until last year.”

The internet and video content can share the greatness in our society like with Phil, the homeless man who needed a shave and his positive experiences with the Tallahassee Police Department. Or it shares the ugly, as in the case of the aforementioned man with a gun.

And, of course, Paul Flart.

It can also propel political messages like never before. This idea is not new, but we are seeing more depth than ever its use and how messages are crafted.

Cheers to Kemp and Gillum for their creativity with video content.

And regarding Mr. Flart: “C’mon on Man” (to quote ESPN).

Thank you to Steve and ABC27 for visiting Aegis, and thanks to Florida Politics for publishing this piece.

Have a good one, and thank you for reading.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at

Now it’s a party: Andrew Gillum to attend Miami-Dade Democrats’ gala

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party has announced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum will appear at the group’s Blue Gala event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29.

Gillum will be joined by keynote speaker Julian Castro, rumored to be a potential 2020 presidential candidate, along with several other Democratic lawmakers.

The Blue Gala serves as an annual fundraiser for the Miami-Dade Democrats.

The group pledges that “every dollar raised will go to get-out-the-vote for Andrew Gillum, Bill Nelson, and Democrats up and down the ballot,” according to a news release on the event.

The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables will play host to the gala, which will run from 7 p.m. till midnight.

Tickets for the dinner start at $300. That includes dinner, an open bar and an ability to stay for the after-party.

For those seeking to skip dinner and just party, tickets cost $50.

The gala will also honor state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins, State Attorney Aramis Ayala and longtime activist Ruth Shack.

Ron DeSantis education proposals spotlight workforce training, school choice

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis rolled out a raft of education proposals on Tuesday, fleshing out his platform as the general election season continues.

His timing was no accident. His Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum plans a press conference at noon talking about his own proposals.

DeSantis’ plan has considerable overlap in at least one area with that of his dispatched primary opponent, Adam Putnam, who enthused about the need for vocational and trade education.

Vowing to “work with leaders from K-12 schools, postsecondary education, and the business community to better support career and technical education and apprenticeships, and to make sure Florida’s education is meeting the needs of our students and economy,” DeSantis’ words hearken back to the appeals of Putnam on the stump during the summer.

DeSantis also proposes that 80 percent of education spending go into the classroom, with an operational and financial audit of the Department of Education to highlight opportunities for improvement.

School choice is also a priority for much of the Republican’s financial base, and the nominee allays any potential qualms from the donor class. DeSantis “will support school choice options such as public magnet schools, district and non-district managed public charter schools, Florida Virtual School, home education, and the various other choice options.”

He also vows to incentivize teacher retention in high-need areas, such as special needs students, and to tweak performance incentives to have merit pay based on classroom performance.

DeSantis also promises a “complete review” of curriculum standards, including a renewed emphasis on civics education and the United States Constitution in those classes.

Regarding Florida’s higher education system, DeSantis vows to increase performance funding — a model that has been criticized for perceived inefficiencies by universities that have gotten short shrift in the formula.

Money comes from near and far in Governor’s race

With money streaming in from across the country, Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum raised more than $2.7 million during the first week in September in their clash to become Florida Governor.

The contributions went to the candidates and their closely aligned political committees, with DeSantis having an edge. The Republican pulled in $1.4 million from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7, while Gillum raised nearly $1.32 million, according to newly filed reports with the state Division of Elections.

The fundraising period represented the first full week after DeSantis, a former Northeast Florida congressman, and Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, dispatched their opponents in the Aug. 28 primary elections. The totals are a hint of what is to come this fall as DeSantis and Gillum compete in one of the biggest Governor’s races in the country — and also don’t reflect the millions of dollars that the political parties and outside groups have already started pouring into the campaign.

DeSantis raised $380,951 for his campaign account and $1.023 million for the committee Friends of Ron DeSantis during the week, the reports show. DeSantis had a combined total of nearly $2.57 million in cash on hand as Sept. 7.

Gillum, meanwhile, raised $874,285 for his campaign account and $445,500 for the committee known as Forward Florida, according to the reports. Gillum had a combined total of about $5.17 million in cash on hand at the end of the period.

As a sign of the high-profile nature of the campaign, both candidates hauled in contributions from across the country — often from small donors.

Among the nearly 2,000 separate contributions that came into DeSantis’ campaign account during the first week of September, about 1,800 were for $250 or less. Contributions came from 49 states, only missing Alaska.

Gillum’s campaign account, meanwhile, received more than 14,000 separate contributions from all 50 states during the week. Of those, Gillum received 13,661 contributions of $250 or less.

Individual contributions to the candidates’ campaign accounts are limited to $3,000, but the closely aligned political committees do not face such limits. As a result, while the candidates’ campaigns received thousands of small contributions, the committees reeled in large checks.

The more than $1 million that the DeSantis committee raised in early September came from 43 donors, according to the Division of Elections website. As examples of the contributions were $250,000 from Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus and $50,000 from Conservative Principles for Florida, a political committee headed by incoming state House Speaker Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican.

The $445,000 raised during the week by Gillum’s committee, meanwhile, came in seven contributions. Among them was a $200,000 contribution from West Palm Beach attorney Chris Searcy, according to the committee’s report.

Socialist smear on Andrew Gillum another GOP ‘dog whistle,’ says Jeremy Ring

Margate Democrat Jeremy Ring, the former Yahoo! executive and state Senator running for CFO, told Florida Politics Monday that Republican claims that Andrew Gillum is a “socialist” amount to more “dog whistle” politics.

“It’s out of a 101 playbook,” Ring said when asked, adding that it doesn’t seem to be “getting traction” given Gillum’s polling lead with independent voters.

“It’s a dog whistle of sorts. Is Gillum a socialist because he wants to ban assault weapons? Ask them to define socialism,” Ring said.

“If they define it, it’s not going to match where the Democrats are,” Ring added. “Socialism — it’s a dog whistle word as it relates to its reality in this election.”

A main ballast for the claim: Gillum’s desire to hike corporate income taxes from five to seven percent. Ring rejected that logic.

“I don’t think that’s a socialist measure,” Ring opined. “That’s a policy debate with pros and cons attached to it for sure. I don’t think just because you’re talking about raising a corporate tax rate that you’re talking about socialism. It seems to be pretty far fetched to me.”

Accusations of “dog whistle” politics have been a leit motif of the primary season thus far, which began with Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis warning Floridians not to “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum.

DeSantis said he wouldn’t use the phrase again, but called the flap over the phrase (one that earned the interest of national media) a “nothingburger.”

Two debates planned between Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum

The gubernatorial nominees have agreed to two debates ahead of Election Day.

Republican nominee Ron DeSantis accepted a Leadership Florida debate and CNN town hall on Monday, a few days after Democrat Andrew Gillum said he also would attend the forums. 

The Leadership Florida debate, according to the Gillum campaign, will take place Oct. 24 at Broward College. The CNN debate will be in Tampa, but the date is not yet set. 

DeSantis, in accepting debate invitations, opened the door for three more: Fox News, CBS Miami with Jim DeFede and Telemundo in Orlando.

“I’ll debate [Andrew Gillum] whenever possible—because his high-tax, far-left policies would be a disaster for Florida,” DeSantis tweeted.

But DeSantis left unanswered a third forum Gillum accepted: Univision 23 in Miami.

That sort of silence has proved to be fodder for both parties in multiple races.

The Gillum campaign and the Florida Democratic Party spent the weekend hammering DeSantis for not having immediately accepted the same debates that Gillum accepted on Saturday. 

When the Gillum campaign announced on Sunday that the Tallahassee mayor also would attend a CNN town hall, campaign adviser Scott Arceneaux said: “DeSantis is refusing to accept any debates because he has no real plans for moving Florida forward.”

A spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party in a statement earlier on Monday said: “In a major break with tradition, Ron DeSantis is refusing to debate Andrew Gillum.”

But now, there are three pending forums the Gillum campaign must answer to. As of publishing, Gillum’s team has yet to indicate whether it will attend the additional debates DeSantis announced earlier on Monday.

“Florida voters deserve to hear from both Mayor Gillum and Congressman DeSantis about their plans for the Sunshine State, and we’re proud to move forward accordingly,” said Geoff Burgan, Gillum’s communications director.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate race the Republican candidate has made a campaign issue of incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson’s delay of response to live forums.

Per Republican challenger Rick Scott’s count, he’s accepted four debates ahead of Nov. 6.

Nelson’s RSVP’d to just one.

In a dig at the sitting senator, Scott suggested on Twitter earlier on Monday that Nelson accept more debates.

Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum pile up matching funds

Gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum continue to be the biggest beneficiaries of Florida’s matching-funds program, which has doled out $5.36 million to statewide candidates this year.

DeSantis, the Republican nominee, received $96,938 from the program Friday, while Democratic candidate Gillum got $62,390, according to figures posted online by the state Division of Elections.

DeSantis has received an overall total of more than $1.152 million from the program, which matches individual contributions of $250 or less. Since winning the Aug. 28 Republican primary, DeSantis has received $176,426 from the state. Among the nearly 2,000 separate contributions that came into DeSantis’ campaign from across the country during the first week in September, about 1,800 were of $250 or less.

Gillum has now received $620,631 through the matching-funds program, including $125,567 since the Aug. 28 primary. In September’s first seven days, Gillum received 13,661 contributions of $250 or less. Gillum, DeSantis and three other statewide candidates are taking part in the matching-funds program. The governor’s race has accounted for just over $4 million of the overall total, with two candidates who lost in the primaries — Democrat Gwen Graham and Republican Adam Putnam — also tapping into it.

Among the candidates for attorney general, Republican nominee Ashley Moody received $760 in matching funds on Friday and has received $380,935 from the state. Democratic candidate Sean Shaw got a check for $10,391 on Friday and has received $233,093 from the program.

In the race for state chief financial officer, incumbent Republican Jimmy Patronis received a check for $4,200 on Friday. Patronis has received $309,305 through the state program. Democratic candidate Jeremy Ring has not taken part in the voluntary program.

The amount of matching funds in this year’s elections appears likely to dwarf the amount in the 2014 midterm elections. In 2014, two candidates for governor and four candidates seeking Cabinet positions drew $4.1 million from the matching-funds program during the primary and general elections.

Personnel note: Meredith Beatrice lands at Florida GOP

Meredith Beatrice is now Communications Director for the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), Chairman Blaise Ingoglia announced Monday.

Beatrice, who most recently handled media for GOP Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s unsuccessful run for governor, “will be focused on Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign,” Ingoglia said.

“Understanding the importance of this election cycle, Meredith will be a great asset to our success, especially in retaining the Governor’s Mansion,” he added in a press release. “We welcome her to the RPOF and look forward to the integral role she will have in media strategy.”

Beatrice, 30, is a veteran of political communications. She has been as Director of External Affairs for the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission and was Communications Director for the Florida Department of State.

Before that, she worked as a director at JDA Frontline, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

Beatrice will be the party’s primary contact for questions related to the governor’s race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and Congressman Ron DeSantis (R).

Ingoglia said Yohana de la Torre will remain a “communications consultant” to the party and be the main contact for questions related to him or general party-related activities.

“Liberals and socialists want to take over our government and undo eight years of successful conservative leadership, and we won’t let that happen,” Beatrice said in a statement.

“An Andrew Gillum administration would be a disaster for Florida. Andrew Gillum only knows how to foster corruption, increase crime rates, and raise taxes. At every level, he has failed running the city of Tallahassee and can’t be trusted.

“We’ve got to build on our economic success, protect our environment, and increase educational opportunities for every student, which is exactly what Ron DeSantis will accomplish as Governor. I look forward to highlighting the clear choice in this election and working with strong conservatives to keep Florida red.”

Andrew Gillum video promises opportunity; campaign pushes back at tax critics

Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum rolled out a new advertisement promoting his economic message as his campaign pushed back on suggestions his election would usher in higher taxes.

A campaign video released Sunday includes footage from a rally last weekend in Orlando.

The audio for the ad showcases lines from Gillum’s speech about restoring economic opportunity for “our teachers who need to get paid what they’re worth” and “our kids who need an opportunity that should not be defined by their ZIP code, where they live or what side of the track they grow up on.”

The clip comes as the Tallahassee mayor’s gubernatorial campaign responds to accusations the candidate’s “Fair Shake for Florida’s Future” would bring high taxes and dangerous socialism.

Indeed, Gillum in April unveiled the plan with a promise to increase corporate taxes in order to increase education spending by $1 billion.

A new statement from Gillum’s campaign echoed that sentiment while taking a fresh swipe at Republican opponent Ron DeSantis.

“Mayor Gillum is asking our state’s richest corporations to pay their fair share so our children can have the high-quality public education they deserve — while Ron DeSantis has no plan for public education, or any other critical issue facing Floridians,” the statement reads.

But the campaign also says “No Floridian would pay even $1 more in taxes.”

The campaign said the proposed tax would be a “2.25 percent (5.5 percent, adjusted to 7.75 percent) increase on corporate income taxes,” not a 40-percent increase “as misleadingly reported.”

That appears to be a reference to an analysis by the Americans for Tax Reform, which after the primary reported that Gillum’s proposal would give Florida the “highest corporate tax in the region.”

ATR did account for Gillum’s 7.75 percent adjusted figure and said that constituted a 40.9 percent increase from taxes now, which accounts for the $1 billion in new funding Gillum wants for education.

Florida, should it institute that rate, would charge a higher corporate tax than Alabama or Tennessee (6.5 percent) or than Georgia (6 percent), according to ATR.

DeSantis, in contrast, signed a pledge before the primary not to raise taxes on Floridians.

But Gillum’s campaign says 98 percent of businesses would still pay no corporate income tax, and that 2 to 3 percent of C-Corporations that would be subject to any new tax would still pay 83.9 percent less overall in corporate taxes than they were charged in the last eight years under Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

C-Corporations with less than $50,000 income annually would be exempt, as would all S-Corporations and limited liability corporations, according to the campaign.

Gillum insists the economic message will provide empowerment for more Floridians by bolstering educational resources. And in his new campaign video, he ends on a Barack Obama-esque message just as opponents try to paint him as a big government liberal.

“The politics of hope and aspiration and inspiration and opportunity still lives, and it lives right here in the state of Florida,” Gillum says at the rally, before signing off with the campaign motto “Let’s bring it home.”

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