Andrew Gillum Archives - Page 3 of 67 - Florida Politics

Andrew Gillum releases first TV ad recalling ‘grandmother’s voice’

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is out with his first TV ad of the general election titled, “My Grandmother’s Voice.”

Gillum begins the minute-long ad recounting advice given to him by his grandmother. Gillum then explains how those messages motivate his run to be the state’s next Governor.

“I can still hear my grandmother’s voice,” Gillum begins.

“She’d say, ‘Go to school. Mind your teachers. Get your lesson. And one day, bring that education home. Bring it home for your little brother and your little sister who don’t know what an education is yet.

“ ’Bring it home for that little boy down the street that you play with. God knows where he’s going to end up. Bring it home for your mother and your father who get up every day to go out there and work on somebody else’s job.’

“It was a reminder that if we were going to get anywhere in life, we would get there together. This could be our story, Florida, written by and for anyone who has ever been told that they don’t belong, been counted out, or been told that they can’t make a difference.

“Together we can bring home affordable health care. We can bring it home for better jobs and better wages. We can bring it home for education that our children deserve. My name is Andrew Gillum. Let’s bring it home, Florida.”

The Gillum campaign says the spot is set to begin running Friday, Sept. 14 and is part of a seven-figure ad buy. The video will also be circulated digitally.

“We are giving voters a reason to vote for something, not just against — a stark contrast from our opponent,” said Geoff Burgan, communications director for the Gillum campaign.

“This ad highlights why Mayor Gillum believes we all do better when we all do better.”

Gillum is attempting to become the state’s first Democratic Governor since Lawton Chiles (or Buddy MacKay, to be a stickler about it).

Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is the Republican nominee.

Donald Trump: Puerto Rican deaths fake news; Darren Soto: Trump dancing on graves

President Donald Trump has responded Thursday morning to mounting reports of high death tolls in Puerto Rico in the wake of last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria, contending in tweets that 3,000 did not die as a result, and such reports are the result of Democrats trying to make him look bad.

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Democrats and Puerto Rican activists are expressing stunned disbelief of Trump’s tweets. U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat from Celebration whose district includes Florida’s largest concentration of Puerto Ricans and who is of Puerto Rican descent himself, accused Trump of “dancing on their graves to disguise your tragic incompetence.”

Republicans scrambled to accept the 3,000 figure as a believable estimate without sounding overtly critical of the president’s tweets.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum tweeted, “No death is partisan and our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico deserve better from @realDonaldTrump before, during and after the hurricane.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, whom Scott is challenging, called Trump’s tweets “shameful.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando called the tweets “awful” and declare that Trump “has once again made it all about him.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park found Trump’s comments “very distrurbing,” according to her chief of staff.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, running for the U.S. Senate this year, said he disagreed with Trump and declared “the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching.”

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor and a staunch Trump supporter, “doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated,” and is “committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community,” according to his campaign.

And Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio essentially defended the 3,000 estimate, and cautioned everyone to stop playing politics over it.

Said state Sen. Victor Torres, an Orlando Democrat who also is of Puerto Rican descent, called Trump delusional. “This president cannot admit that he did not do all that he should have done to help those in the dire situation on the island. It’s a wonder he can still pound his chest and say he was outstanding in what he did, and not realize he failed, he failed the Puerto Ricans miserably.”

The 3,000 figure, actually 2,975, came from his own government’s estimates of people who died from lack of water, electricity, medicine, and health care on the island in the aftermath of Maria, which left most of the island without power for months, and much of the island without potable water.

A separate study by Harvard University researchers, predicted the government estimate. Released in May, the Harvard study analyzed the probabilities of Puerto Rico deaths with and without the storms concluded the range of difference would be anywhere 793 to 8,498 additional deaths, and set its estimate on 4,645, as the statistically most-probable point. That study was conducted by a collaboration of researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Carlos Albizu University in Puerto Rico, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s tweets come as the Carolinas prepare for the next monster hurricane, Hurricane Florence, bearing down for a strike tonight or tomorrow.

Soto’s full tweet, “Mr. President: we had nearly 3000 Americans die in Puerto Rico due to your slow, failed response to Hurricane Maria. And now you dance on their graves to disguise your tragic incompetence.”

Demings tweeted: It’s times like these when we need the President to lead. But once again he has made it all about him. The death count from #Maria is real. Thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico died as a direct result of the storm. When America faces a tragedy, we HAVE to come together.

Murphy put out a statement that read, “No objective observer believes the federal government’s preparation for and response to Hurricane Maria was adequate, given that nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico died. However, this is a symptom of a much deeper problem. For too long, under both Republicans and Democrats, the federal government has treated Puerto Rico in an unequal and sometimes indifferent way. American citizens in Puerto Rico should have the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens in Florida or any state. Ensuring genuine equality for Puerto Rico is one of the best ways to avoid a repeat of what we saw with the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria.”

Scott’s full tweet: I disagree with @POTUS– an independent study said thousands were lost and [Puerto Rico] Gov. [Ricardo] Rosselló agreed. I’ve been to Puerto Rico 7 times & saw devastation firsthand. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. I’ll continue to help PR

“These days even tragedy becomes political. 3k more Americans died in #PuertoRico after Hurricane than during comparable periods before. Both Fed & local gov made mistakes. We all need to stop the blame game & focus on recovery, helping those still hurting & fixing the mistakes,” Rubio tweeted.

Nelson’s full tweet: The president’s comments on the nearly 3,000 American lives lost in Puerto Rico are shameful. We deserve and expect more from someone who holds the highest office in our country.

The full statement from DeSantis’s Campaign Communications Director Stephen Lawson is:

“Ron DeSantis has always worked to help the Puerto Rican community, both on the Island and here in Florida. As Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, he conducted an oversight hearing earlier this year to identify deficiencies in the federal response to Hurricane Maria. He has worked alongside Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon to secure support for rebuilding efforts. In August, he visited the island to meet with elected leaders and get the latest briefing from FEMA regarding recovery efforts. Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life. He doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated. Ron is focused on continuing to help our Puerto Rican neighbors recover and create opportunities for those who have moved to Florida succeed.”

Thomas Kennedy: The real extremist running for Florida Governor

Politics in America has become quite the spectacle recently. Florida, of course, has never been known for boring elections. Consider our last gubernatorial election, where former Republican Governor Charlie Crist ran as a Democrat against Republican Rick Scott, a millionaire who oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in the history of Florida (and is currently running for Senate).

Need I say more?

Yet Florida has not seen anything like the epic race pitting Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum against Rep. Ron DeSantis, both aspiring to become Governor. Gillum made history by becoming the first black nominee for Governor in the history of the state after beating four other candidates, all millionaires, while running a bold and progressive campaign. DeSantis defeated Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam after receiving Donald Trump’s endorsement in what was considered an upset by political observers.

Since the onset of the general election, Gillum has faced a barrage of smears from the Florida Republican Party and its allies claiming that he is a candidate too radical for the people of Florida. Republicans say that Gillum is out of step with the average Floridian.

That’s funny coming from a party that has held political power in Florida for two decades, with disastrous consequences for working-class families. Currently 45 percent of households in the state qualifying as working poor and struggle to afford basic necessities like health care, transportation and housing despite being employed. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state have underfunded public education, refused to expand Medicaid for as many as 1 million Floridians, and set up corporate slush funds that divert millions in taxpayer dollars to the same wealthy corporations who help fund their campaigns

In the current race for Governor, it is DeSantis who is the clear extremist. His reactionary political agenda is plain for all Floridians to see.

— He has not taken a stand on raising the abysmal $8.25 minimum wage in the state.

— He opposes gun policies that would prevent tragedies like the Parkland shooting and is proud of his NRA endorsement and the money that comes with it.

— He opposes a woman’s right to choose what happens to their bodies.

— He wants to criminalize undocumented immigrant families who contribute to the economy of Florida in an effort to make their lives as difficult as possible.

— He supports the privatization of prisons and has taken big sums of money from GEO Group, the largest for-profit prison company in Florida.

— He opposed imposing meaningful regulations on industries that are destroying our environment and questions if climate change is caused by humans despite overwhelming scientific evidence.

In stark contrast stands Gillum and his progressive agenda, yet his policy positions are hardly radical or extreme. In fact, they are in lockstep with a majority of Americans.

— Medicare for all? Supported by 70 percent of Americans.

— Assault weapons ban? Supported by 67 percent of Americans.

— Comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship? Supported by 63 percent of Americans.

— Legalizing marijuana? Supported by 61 percent of Americans.

— Raising the minimum wage? Supported by 51 percent of Americans.

— Restoring voting rights to people with prior felony convictions? Supported by 74 percent of Floridians.

I can keep going if I’d wanted to, but I think I’ve made my point.

Despite what political consultants and mainstream media outlets will tell you, people are hungry for change and support policies that will materially make their lives better. They are tired of having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, and fearing that a health issue could potentially lead to financial ruin or even death due to lack of health care.

DeSantis is a radical who has tied his political fortunes to Donald Trump, one of the most corrupt and unpopular Presidents in modern American history.

I believe that come Nov. 6, Floridians will choose Gillum as the candidate that stands with them on a majority of the issues.


Thomas Kennedy is the Political Director for FLIC Votes and a communications fellow for the Center for Community Change Action. He tweets from @Tomaskenn.

National profile: Might Chris King’s Christian background emerge in campaign?

Only a few times during his unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial run did Chris King discuss his evangelical Christian faith, and almost no one paid any attention.

Now a new national profile of King appearing in New Republic magazine is exploring whether Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum might turn his running mate loose preaching Gospel from the political left.

The article “Chris King is wealthy, white, and an evangelical Christian. But will that help Gillum win the governorship?” by Orlando-based freelance writers Mark I. Pinsky and Loraine O’Connell, published Tuesday by New Republic, speculates that King’s evangelical Christian faith might be used as a campaign asset this fall if the Democrats seek to win over those Christian voters who might have more liberal political views but instinctively fear Democrats as hostile to their faith.

“Evangelicalism might have held King back in the Democratic primary, but in a statewide general election, his ties to the Christian community could be an asset, and Gillum’s decisions of late suggest he understands that,” Pinsky and O’Connell write.

King’s evangelical credentials run deep. Among other things, the article notes his membership in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Winter Park High School; with Campus Crusade for Christ at Harvard University; and in adulthood, including today, as an elder at the nondenominational, evangelical church where his family worships in Orlando.

Pinsky, who also recently published a New Republic article that all but predicted former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s spectacular fall from grace in the Democratic Party, has profiled King in the past, in a book exploring evangelical Christians in Central Florida. Pinsky followed King’s career since his religion became a controversial issue at Harvard in the late 1990s.

The New Republic explores the political alliances and voting blocks the Democrats and Republicans can expect to build as Gillum and King face U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and his running mate, state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez. The evangelical Christian block has been so Republican for so long that Pinsky and O’Connell don’t begin to suggest that Gillum and King could win it.

But the authors note that at times when Democrats (including Barack Obama) have seemingly picked up a few points from evangelicals, flipping a few moderate Christian voters might become a key part of the Democrats’ strategy, especially in an election that is already appearing to be a rock-hard 48-48 split of the Florida electorate.

“Gillum himself is Baptist, and in August he spoke to supporters outside the Bethel Church in Richmond Heights, the South Dade neighborhood where he grew up. Apart from his numerous visits to African-American churches and appearances with black preachers, Gillum did not explicitly raise religion, nor, for the most part, did his opponents or interviewers,” Pinsky and O’Connell write.

“Still, his choice for lieutenant governor suggests that he will lean into it in his quest to win the governorship.”

Ron DeSantis proposes bans on fracking, offshore drilling; Democrats skeptical

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis rolled out environmental proposals, a key component of his general election messaging, on Wednesday.

DeSantis’ plan includes Everglades restoration, along with protection of beaches, the state’s water supply (including the use of reclaimed water), parks, springs, and air.

Among the proposal’s highlights: advocacy for a fracking ban and opposition to offshore drilling.

DeSantis distinguished himself in the Republican primary with attacks on the sugar industry, which heavily invested in the campaign of his main opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

However, DeSantis’ plans seem to represent more a continuation of current environmental policy than any sharp breaks.

Regarding the Everglades, the DeSantis plan contends that southern storage on Lake Okeechobee will fix current issues, which include algae blooms and massive fish kills.

“DeSantis is committed to completing the suite of Everglades Restoration projects in the Central Everglades Planning Process (CEPP) and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP),” the plan asserts.

“Beginning day one, DeSantis will work with the Trump administration and Congress to ensure the federal government honors its 20-year old funding promise to CERP by appropriating its $200 million in matching federal dollars to build the Southern Reservoir and complete the entire suite of projects,” the plan adds.

DeSantis also intends to continue the raising of the Tamiami Trail and having the Department of Environmental Protection assume complete oversight of water quality standards.

DeSantis also vows to stand against offshore oil drilling, with commitments to “smart growth” and flood mitigation efforts.

“DeSantis will utilize his unique relationship with President Trump and his administration to ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines,” the plan declares.

(Those with memories going back months will recall the back and forth between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson about assurances that Florida was “off the table” for offshore drilling, with no ultimate clarity provided on that issue even now).

As well, he will work for solutions to the “unprecedented red tides” in Southwest Florida, with a task force of “experts in the field of marine and oceanic science.”

DeSantis’ water conservation proposals include the use of “reclaimed water,” which will “be treated consistent with its use.”

As well, he vows to push a fracking ban through the Legislature.

DeSantis also wants to use Amendment 1 dollars for restoration of current conservation lands in addition to acquisition: “vital springs protection funding, Everglades restoration funding, beach restoration funding, various water quality funding, and conservation of our state parks.”

One of his key endorsers, Fleming Island Sen. Rob Bradley, has advocated for better use of those dedicated funds, which often have not gone for their express purpose.

Florida Conservation Voters noted last year that since Amendment 1 passed in 2014, no year has seen more than $15.2 million earmarked for Florida Forever. This is a contrast between pre-2009 funding levels of $300 million a year and is a small fraction of the more than $2 billion set aside via the Amendment 1 real estate tax since 2014.

Additionally, DeSantis vows to work with “local stakeholders and utility companies” regarding air quality standards.

With DeSantis having spent the last two weeks digging his way out of self-imposed controversies, including the now-infamous suggestion that attacking Gillum could “monkey up” the state’s progress in the Rick Scott era, it’s clear that he’s now pivoting to policy.

With a $10 million ad buy coming in for him via the Republican Governor’s Association, the expectation is that the campaign will be less about gaffes and more about policy proposals.

However, Democrats and environmentalists are skeptical of DeSantis’ commitment to the environment.

Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director Aliki Moncrief asserted that DeSantis’s plan “read like he’s applying to be branch manager … a yes man … for the Trump Administration.”

The national League of Conservation Voters gave Moncrief a 2 percent rating for his work in Congress, a mark “remarkably difficult” to attain, said Moncrief.

DeSantis “said that climate change is not a problem the state can handle,” which Moncrief called a “ludicrous” statement.

“DeSantis wants to rearrange the furniture while the house is falling down,” Moncrief said.

Ahead of DeSantis’ Cape Coral campaign stop, John Scott, Vice Chair of the Sierra Club Calusa Group, called DeSantis “a sham environmentalist who has consistently done the bidding of Florida’s biggest polluters … gutting clean water protections, allowing corporations to pollute our water, and supporting Donald Trump, Rick Scott and Scott Pruitt’s attacks on our environment.”

Andrew Gillum leads Ron DeSantis in latest Florida Chamber poll

For the first time in the two-week-old general election campaign for Florida Governor, one candidate is nearing a lead outside the margin of error.

According to a recent poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Democrat Andrew Gillum is four points up on Republican Ron DeSantis.

The spread is 47-43, with Gillum ahead in every major media market but Jacksonville.

“Politically speaking, this is an interesting poll because most voters have learned a little about Ron DeSantis, yet most voters don’t know Andrew Gillum because he is a surprise winner and the most liberal of the Democrats on the ballot that ran in the primary election,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of Political Strategy of the Florida Chamber.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if Gillum, who is backing policies by Bill Nelson, yet supported by Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and George Soros will hold onto this lead while voters begin to understand his background and policies, or if Ron DeSantis and his policies will continue gaining popularity and propel him to succeed Gov. [Rick] Scott as Florida’s next Governor. The election is more than 50 days away and that’s a lifetime in Florida politics,” Johnson added.

The performance of “change agent” Gillum is remarkable, given 48 percent of voters believe Florida is on the “right track,” well above the 36 percent who thinks Florida is heading in the wrong direction.

Conducted September 6-9 — immediately after Lieutenant Governor candidates were chosen — the Chamber poll interviewed 514 likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-4.4 percent.

Among those voters interviewed were 210 Democrats, 205 Republicans and 99 others, with 67 percent reached via cellphone and 33 percent via landline. Samples included both likely and newly registered voters.

Florida Supreme Court

Apply within: Panel starts process to replace Supreme Court justices

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission on Wednesday announced it would start accepting applications to fill three upcoming vacancies.

Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince face mandatory retirement on the same day that term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott will leave office.

Under the state constitution, judges and justices face mandatory retirement at age 70. In Florida, judicial vacancies are filled by appointment by the Governor, from a list of applicants vetted and submitted by judicial nominating panels.

“Based on the Supreme Court’s current composition, one seat must be filled by a qualified applicant who resides in the Third Appellate District (based in Miami); the other two seats are at-large,” a press release said.

The next justices will likely determine the ideological balance of the state’s highest court: Pariente, Lewis, and Quince are regarded as the court’s liberal-leaning contingent; Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson are the conservatives. Justice Jorge Labarga is often a swing vote.

On Tuesday evening, Scott said he would agree to confer with the next governor-elect on the three justices. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the Democratic nominee; Ponte Vedra Beach congressman Ron DeSantis is the GOP nominee.

Quince was the last justice to be appointed that way in 1998, and was the consensus candidate of then Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, and Gov.-elect Jeb Bush, a Republican.

A Gillum spokesman has all but spurned the idea, saying that “in our understanding of the constitution, the next Governor will appoint the next three Supreme Court justices.”

Scott, now running for U.S. Senate, says he will announce the new justices on Jan. 7, his last day in office, which coincides with their retirement date.

Scott’s insistence on replacing the three spurred a legal challenge earlier this year by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause. The progressive organization’s implied concern was that Scott would pack the court with more conservatives.

In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court said in December that it couldn’t step into the controversy because the Governor hadn’t taken any action yet.

The lone dissenter? Lewis, who said Scott’s plan to make the appointments on his way out the door was “blatantly unconstitutional.”

The application form is here. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Oct. 8.


Capital correspondent Michael Moline and Senior Editor Jim Rosica contributed to this post.

Republican governors ad pegs Andrew Gillum as ‘way out there’

The Republican Governors Association is entering the Florida election with a television commercial debuting Wednesday that declares that Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum is so far out there, “he’s on another planet.”

The new 30-second spot, “Too Far,” outlines Gillum’s positions favoring universal health care, a tax increase on corporations to pay for expanded education funding, and to abolish and replace the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and charges that he and his ideas go “too far” for Floridians. Two of those three items, involving health care and ICE, are federal matters, outside the power of the governor’s office, though Gillum has expressed his support for them.

The commercial debuts today on Florida television. The RGA did not detail the buy.

Gillum is facing Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s Nov. 6 gubernatorial election, which is bound to become increasingly fought over by national party groups.

“Andrew Gillum’s radical far-left policies are too extreme for Florida’s working families,” RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson stated in a news release issued Wednesday. “Gillum supports a complete government takeover of health care, a billion dollar tax hike, and wants to close down our immigration enforcement agency. Andrew Gillum is too radical for Florida.”

Gillum’s campaign responded with a statement that accused the RGA of a “pitiful” attempt to distract from DeSantis’ issues, and read, in part: “As Governor, Andrew Gillum wants to create a Florida where we work to grow the economy for the middle class, expand access to affordable health care, and welcome our diverse communities. Ron DeSantis is ‘on another planet’ if he thinks Floridians support his D.C. record of slashing health care for Floridians, creating special tax breaks for billionaires, and attacking the Latino community. There’s a clear choice in this campaign between Andrew Gillum’s Florida values and Ron DeSantis’s radical D.C. record.”

The Democratic Governors Association also is weighing in heavily in the race, donating $2 million to the Forward Florida political committee backing Gillum’s run.

“How far out is Andrew Gillum? He’s on another planet!” the narrator begins.

“Andrew Gillum wants a government takeover of health care,” the narrator continues. “You’d lose the coverage you have. And you could even lose your doctor. Gillum wants to increase Florida taxes by a billion dollars, disaster for the economy. And he supports closing our immigration enforcement agency. Dangerous!

“You’d better learn more about Andrew Gillum,” the narrator concludes. “He just goes too far.”

Joe Henderson: If Andrew Gillum is radical, so are lots of people

The Republican game plan to defeat Andrew Gillum has been clear from the start: Paint him as the compromised puppet of billionaire Democratic donors who want to unleash a radical socialist agenda on Florida that would END LIFE AS WE KNOW IT!!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout.

We saw some evidence of that on this most excellent website just the other day in a commentary by conservative John Stemberger, head of the Florida Family Policy Council.

Stemberger noted that Gillum opposes “robust Second Amendment rights” and even bragged about leading protest marches.

Well, to a lot of people, that isn’t exactly a “radical” idea. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, there were massive protests and several polls showed between 65 and 70 percent of Floridians wanted tougher regulations on firearms. Maybe those who oppose that are the radical ones, huh?

Stemberger also referred to Gillum as “impressive” — which obviously he is. He stormed from behind in the final days of the primary campaign to win the nomination. Somebody must like him. We know Bernie Sanders does.

That group won’t include Republicans, of course — but it likely does number a majority of Florida’s 3.5 million voters who have no party affiliation.

If I may offer just a tiny bit of advice to my GOP friends, it would be this: Be careful with all that “radical” talk.

It’s not “radical” to say health care isn’t a privilege reserved for those who can afford good insurance. It’s not “radical” to say the failure to expand Medicaid to the neediest citizens is a moral failing by a government that should try to represent all the people.

It’s not “radical” to say our public schools deserve better than they have gotten from a state government masking attacks on the teachers’ union as educational reform.

Nor is it “radical” to question why Tallahassee, under Republican control for 20 years, has taken to slashing and burning environmental protections in a state where the great outdoors is kind of important.

Here’s what has happened, though.

After controlling everything in Tallahassee for two decades, Republicans have become tone-deaf. They believe they’re responsible only to people who believe in the same things they do, and to hell with everybody else. That ignores the fact, by the way, that Rick Scott won two elections to be Governor by about 1 percentage point each time.

They haven’t had to care what opponents thought and wanted for so long that anything beyond their own agenda seems, well, radical.

That’s why in their deepest recesses, they are afraid of Andrew Gillum.

They should be.

I’m sure they noticed how he squashed his opponents in South Florida in the primary.

Andrew Gillum got nearly 40 percent of the vote in a 5-way field in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and the turnout was significant. Getting out the vote has always been a problem for Democrats, especially in nonpresidential years. That might be changing.

Gillum has tapped into the frustrations of people who feel left behind and ignored by the GOP, and they vote too — especially when the Republican candidate, Ron DeSantis, clings to Donald Trump like a shadow.

None of that is “radical” Republican friends.

It’s just reality.

Democratic governors donate another $1 million to Andrew Gillum’s committee

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum‘s independent political committee Forward Florida received a second $1 million cash influx Tuesday from the Democratic Governors Association.

The DGA first signaled its full backing of the surprise Democratic nominee with a $1 million donation Aug. 29, one day after he knocked off U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and others in the Democratic primary.

Now it’s doubling down.

“Andrew Gillum has strong grassroots momentum behind his campaign to rebuild Florida so that it works for everyone,” DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson stated in a news release. “This additional $1 million investment will allow him to communicate his positive message across the state, and build on the momentum he has already created.

“Andrew Gillum is focused on increasing access to health care, improving Florida’s public schools, and growing the state’s economy, and that’s why he will be Florida’s next governor.”

Gillum faces Republican gubernatorial nominee U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Until two weeks ago, Forward Florida mainly was the depository for several big-name progressive national rainmakers such as George Soros and Tom SteyerIn the first week after the primary, the committee’s fundraising more than doubled with the first DGA donation, plus another $1 million from Connecticut philanthropist Donald Sussman, and some five- and six-figure checks from other progressive donors.

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