Andrew Gillum – Page 3 – Florida Politics

Adam Putnam warns against ‘the left taking over our state’

Adam Putnam returned to his “Florida First” agenda at the Republicans’ Sunshine Summit Friday pressing for a state that “innovates things, grows things, manufactures things” and vocational education to support it.

The day after the Sunshine Summit hosted the FOX News Florida Republican gubernatorial debate that almost entirely focused on national issues, Putnam almost never mentioned the debate or his opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, at least not by name. However, he did find the need to re-state what had become the dominant message of Thursday night’s debate: full support for President Donald Trump.

Yet instead of contrasting with DeSantis, Putnam instead went after Democrats, as if looking beyond the August 28 Republican gubernatorial primary.

“The left is dedicated to taking over our state,” Putnam warned.

“It is for one reason and one reason only: they are focused solely on defeating our president when he runs for re-election in 2020 and we can’t let that happen,” Putnam continued. “Don’t give them back the mansion. Don’t give them the Legislature. Let us keep the cabinet and let us keep the good times rolling for the state of Florida.”

In his speech Friday at the Republican Party of Florida’s summit at the Gaylord Palms Hotel, Putnam briefly made an exception, going after DeSantis, not by name, but by reputation, as someone who doesn’t spend much time in Florida and doesn’t know Florida issues.

“We need a governor who knows our state; knows every corner of our state from Perdido Key to the Dry Tortugas;who doesn’t need a map or GPS to get around; who knows our schools, the difference between a school district like Hamilton County, which has only two schools in the whole county, and some of the biggest districts in the country,” Putnam said.

Putnam pushed his plan to reintroduce vocational education into middle schools and high school to prepare skilled graduates, who can get higher-paying jobs.

He credited Florida’s low crime rate, at a 37-year low he said, to minimum sentencing, protection of Second Amendment rights, and “plenty of room in the prison system to keep evil people behind bars.”

Beyond that, Putnam made it clear the big challenge was staving off Democrats’ most extreme ideas, such as making Florida a sanctuary state, raising taxes.

“That is not a direction Florida wants to go. But folks, complacency is not an option,” he said.

And he warned against the potential for Democrats with California billionaire Tom Steyer’s announcement that he would donate $1 million to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum‘s Democratic gubernatorial effort, joining  the $500,000 provided by New York billionaire George Soros.

“That’s what’s at stake,” Putnam said.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham

Maggie Hassan endorses Gwen Graham for Governor

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham announced Friday that New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan will endorse her bid in the Democratic primary for Governor.

The Graham campaign said the former Granite State Governor will publicly back Graham during a Women for Graham Leadership Blue kick-off rally Friday night.

“Gwen’s life of service and her progressive record in Congress shows us what her priorities will be as governor. She is committed to restoring Florida’s promise to public schools, defending Florida’s natural treasures, and providing health care for all Floridians. After 20 years of one-party Republican rule, Florida families need a mom like Gwen who will fight for real change and work across the aisle to make progress,” Hassan said.

“Throughout our country’s history, there have been fewer women governors than there are states. It’s a small group, but come this November, I believe we will see a spike in our membership with Gwen Graham leading the way.”

Hassan’s elevation to the U.S. Senate is somewhat reminiscent of Graham’s 2014 campaign for Congress — she unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in a close election two years ago. In 2014, Graham defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland in the old CD 2 by about a point.

The Graham campaign also highlighted some of Hassan’s accomplishments as New Hampshire’s governor, including expanding Medicaid, preserving funding for Planned Parenthood and vetoing “unsafe gun legislation.”

“Senator Hassan is a mom who entered public service as an advocate, fighting to ensure children with disabilities, like her own son, would have the same opportunities every other child has,” Graham said. “She’s a role model for all women, mothers, and public servants — and as governor, I will follow in her footsteps to fight for Florida’s public schools, protect our environment, and expand health care.”

Graham is one of five Democrats running for Governor. She faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. Most polls put Graham and Levine at the top of the five-way race.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Big get: Andrew Gillum endorsed by Tom Steyer’s NextGen America

Today is one of the most important days yet for Andrew Gillum‘s campaign to be the next governor of Florida.

That’s because the Tallahassee Mayor has just been formally endorsed by NextGen America, the civic action group founded by billionaire Tom Steyer whose focus includes impeaching President Donald Trump.

“As we battle for the heart and soul of this nation, Andrew Gillum is the kind of leader we need on the front lines,” said Steyer. “He’s someone we can trust to do the right thing, to put the people before the powerful, and who is unafraid to stand up for justice, now when we need it most. Those who are willing to act courageously and stand up for what is right, are those who will shape the political landscape of the country, and that’s why we’re taking this unprecedented step to make sure Andrew is representing the Democratic Party in November.”

While organizations like NextGen are prohibited from directly working with a campaign, a news release from the organization states it has over $1 million planned for investment on behalf of Gillum and 50 organizers ready on the ground in Florida.

“NextGen America will run a robust field, digital and mail campaign to push Gillum over the finish line to secure the nomination on August 28th,” reads a news release from the group.

Absent from that plan: television spending for Gillum, who hasn’t financed a TV ad yet. The $1 million figure stems from a $500,000 grant from Steyer to Gillum-affiliated PAC Forward Florida along with additional funding, according to NextGen.

While significant, that’s a far cry compared to the $20 million Steyer’s NextGenClimate spent hammering Gov. Rick Scott as a climate change denier during his 2014 re-election bid. It wasn’t enough, obviously, as the Republican incumbent narrowly defeated Charlie Crist, and is now a serious threat to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the fall.

News of NextGen’s expected backing of Gillum was outlined in an internal email sent to field organizers working in the Sunshine State. It was obtained by Florida Politics Thursday night.

“NextGen America is planning on endorsing Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary for Governor of Florida,” read the memo, which instructs staffers not to share any information about the endorsement without explicit written permission. “There will be lots of information coming out in the next couple days, but we wanted to send a note to you first to explain what this means, and answer a few questions you might have.”

Continues the memo: “We will be rolling this out over the next day or two, and we want to make sure that we do it in a coordinated fashion.”

NextGen has held a keen interest in the Sunshine State in recent months. Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, NextGen alongside two other anti-gun violence activist groups announced they’d spend $1 million to register eligible high schoolers to vote. Then in March, Steyer’s group said they planned to dump $3.5 million to mobilize young voters in Florida by hiring at least 100 college campus representatives across 40 campuses. 

A year ago, NextGen held rallies on the campuses of the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University and the University of North Florida to take the temperature of the state’s college aged electorate as part of its mission to register and motivate a half-million young voters to turn up at the voting booth for the midterm election.

Negative ads targeting others in the Democratic contest, which includes Philip Levine, Gwen Graham, Chris King and Jeff Greene, are unlikely. NextGen in the memo made a point of instructing its field workers to not bash other candidates — despite feeling that Gillum most aligns most with their progressive agenda.

“We hope to make it clear to voters the several reasons why we as an organization support him,” reads a portion of the memo. “But we know that even if Andrew doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, there will be a Democratic nominee that we will be proud to support.”

Florida Democrats: Republican debate a ‘right-wing circus’

Republican gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis squared off in their first debate Thursday night and within minutes of the 6:30 p.m. start time, Florida Democrats had a lot to say.

That has a lot to do with the first question of a debate dominated by national issues rather than Florida-centric ones addressing the wedge issue to end all wedge issues: Abortion.

Now that President Donald Trump is slated to get a second Supreme Court appointment, Democrats fear — and many Republicans hope — that the issue can be relitigated in the nation’s high court.

The Florida Democratic Party spelled out those fears 10 minutes into the Republican debate with an email saying that if SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade, “Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis would lead Florida’s war on women.”

“Both candidates have spent their careers attacking women’s health and aligning themselves with some of the most anti-choice organizations in the country. And as governor, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, either candidate would likely sign legislation that would attack women’s health — and outlaw abortion in Florida,” FDP said, backing up their statement a truckload of links to articles detailing the two Republicans’ anti-choice records, including that both Putnam and DeSantis receiving 100 percent ratings from National Right to Life.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, a Democratic candidate for Governor, echoed FDP in a series of tweets shortly after the debate started.

Her campaign used those quotes in a post-debate news release touted her as the “only candidate in the seven-way race for governor with a legislative record of defending a woman’s right to choose,” as well as her 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood and endorsements from EMILY’s List and Ruth’s List.

Also on blast were the Republican candidate’s stances on guns, which have dominated much of the rhetoric in the Democratic race ever since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, not to mention the mass shooting in Annapolis, MD, just hours before the debate.

Both candidates cast the blame for MSD on everything but the tool that carried it out, but Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who often touts his successful court battle with the National Rifle Association on the campaign trail, didn’t need to wait to reheat Putnam’s most famous statement of the campaign season to date — that he’s a “proud NRA sellout.”

Orlando-area businessman Chris King also seized on his Republican rivals’ comments on guns, blasting Putnam specifically for his comments on the shooting du jour.

The Guv hopeful followed up after the debate wrapped with a statement lamenting the debate’s focus on the president, whose name popped up in many questions and nearly every response of the evening.

“Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis just spent 60 minutes one-upping each other on who’s the bigger Trump sycophant. From their NRA loyalty oaths to their fantasyland ideas to ban so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ in Florida (of which there are none), the first Republican debate wasn’t a race to the right — it was a race to the bottom,” he said.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who sits atop most polls in the five-way Democratic primary, hit his GOP opponents for their focus on blaming Barack Obama for everything from health care to, as Putnam asserted, the degradation of political discourse.

Most Democrats admonished Putnam and DeSantis for going “Full Trump” at the debate, and FDP chair Terrie Rizzo was among them. Her post-debate statement wasn’t one of frustration, however, but one of confidence and anticipation of Election Day.

“After tonight’s debate, I’ve never been more confident that Democrats will retake the Governor’s Mansion in November. This debate was a right-wing circus brought to you by Fox News and inspired by Donald Trump. Before a nationwide audience, Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis made clear that they only have one message: Trump, Trump, Trump,” she said.

“Both DeSantis and Putnam failed to substantively discuss issues they will have to address as Governor of Florida — like public education — and instead focused on divisive and demagogic rhetoric. In stark contrast to the Republican gubernatorial campaigns, Florida Democrats are standing up for public education, affordable health care and an economy that works for every one of us — and that’s why we are confident of victory in November.”

New R. Jai Gillum video offers women’s perspective for Andrew Gillum

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum‘s campaign has released a second internet video starring his wife R. Jai Gillum, offering a woman’s perspective on her husband and the issues, and perhaps a subtle effort to suggest to Democratic women voters that there is an alternative to defaulting to vote for Gwen Graham.

In the new one-minute, 50-second video being released Thursday, “First Lady Gillum Hosts Women for Andrew Gillum,” R. Jai Gillum offers a much calmer demeanor than her sometimes fiery husband, as she meets with a group of women in a living room setting. [She is currently Tallahassee’s first lady to her husband’s role as mayor.]

R. Jai Gillum also declares that a candidate’s being African American, or being a woman, is not a reason for voters to pick someone. She then discusses briefly issues, notably abortion, education, attracting jobs, and children, saying that someone has to do something different in the governor’s mansion.

She is no stranger to public policy and politics, She works for the the Florida Dental Association’s Foundation and has significant public sector experience, including working in the administration of former Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the party’s 2010 nominee for governor.

With this video and the previous one, “Meet Florida’s Next First Lady: R. Jai Gillum!” she and her husband also are offering something the other four Democratic candidates, and the two major Republican candidates have not yet attempted to offer: a suggestion of a partnership, the unstated assumption that the candidate and the potential first lady come as a team. It also provides Andrew Gillum the opportunity to balance his often in-your-face style with her more intimate approach.

Gillum faces Graham, Jeff Greene, Philip Levine, and Chris King in the August 28 primary, while the Republicans are fielding Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis.

In the one-minute, 50-second new video she covertly addressing Graham’s advantage as the only woman in a five-way primary: “Yes, I know that African Americans would be proud to have the first African-American governor. And women would be proud to have a woman governor. But that is not why an educated electorate picks their leaders.”

In new ad, Gwen Graham vows to ‘take it back’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is unveiling a new online video that also will serve as her introduction at this weekend’s Florida Democratic Party conference decrying 20 years of Republican rule of Florida and declaring that if she’s elected governor Democrats will “Take it Back.”

The two-minute, 26-second video features dramatic music of pounding piano chords and drums as ominous images of Florida and Republicans give way to rapid-fire clips of Graham on the campaign trail, interrupted occasionally by slaps of text following the theme, “We Will Take Back” one aspect or another of Florida.

Along the way, Graham narrates, briefly pointing out: “It didn’t used to be that way.”

Graham then goes through her basic platform points on health care, public schools, gun control, and “for people to want the best for each other.”

There also are the obligatory shots of her father, former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, though he’s not explicitly identified. As those nostalgic pictures roll, she says, “I grew up in a household where public service meant caring about the people of the state and caring about the state itself. We’ve lost that, but we’re going to take it back.”

Graham created the video to be shown at the Democrats’ Leadership Blue event in Hollywood. Her rivals for the August 28 Democratic primary for governor, Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Philip Levine, and Jeff Greene also are expected to provide such videos.

Graham’s campaign also is announcing Thursday it will place an online buy behind the video to target Democrats in Hollywood over the weekend. Her campaign announced it is also holding a Leadership Blue “Women for Graham” kickoff party Friday night that will feature locally elected women, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, and a nationally known special guest who will announce her endorsement of Graham.

Among her points, Graham gets unusually feisty — for her — declaring, “As governor, I’m not going to allow Florida to be the testing lab for all of these right-wing charter school privatization models,” and “It’s B.S. that there’s nothing that we can do to get these weapons of war off our streets and out of our schools.”

And while the video includes no fewer than 15 shots of Graham’s trademark hugs, she also takes issue with her own generally civil behavior and reputation, stating, “do not mistake my friendliness for any single bit of lack of resolve.”

Chris King touting internal poll showing all his numbers rising

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King is releasing results of internal polling Wednesday that show his support numbers rising across the board in four Florida markets heading toward the August 28 Democratic primary.

The survey by David Binder Research finds a relatively tight race for the top four contenders in a survey of likely Democratic primary voters found in a combination of Gainesville with Panama City, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach. It also shows King making significant progress there and among specific demographic groups: both men and women, white, African-American and Hispanic voters, and across four age brackets.

Overall the survey of 519 likely Democratic voters, polled two weeks ago by cellphone and land-line, found former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham leading with 21 percent, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine essentially tied with her at 20 percent; King at 11 percent; and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 9 percent.

At the time of the survey, the fifth major Democratic candidate Jeff Greene had only just launched his campaign; he barely showed up in the poll, at just 2 percent. The final 37 percent of voters were undecided.

David Binder Research, a California-based firm that was an in-house pollster for the Obama For America campaigns in 2008 and 2012, claimed a 4.3 percent margin of error for the overall results.

“We’ve said all along in this campaign that when voters meet Chris King, they tend to support him,” King’s senior adviser Omar Khan said in a statement the campaign is releasing along with a summary of the poll results Wednesday morning. “As we continue to introduce Chris and his bold, progressive vision to voters across Florida, we’ll continue to see support for his candidacy grow. Democrats are looking for a fresh, bold vision for Florida’s future in 2018 and this survey proves Chris is uniquely positioned to win among a crowded field of conventional politicians from the political establishment.”

King’s campaign was more interested in the change since the previous David Binder Research survey. Among Democratic voters “certain to vote for King,” he was barely showing up outside of the margin of error in an early March statewide poll. That was before he [and Graham and Greene] began television advertising. King’s numbers have gone up 5-10 percent in all four markets and within all the demographic groups when comparing the surveys.

King’s campaign did not release any statewide numbers for the June survey.

The King campaign also released the following analysis provided to it by David Binder Research along with the results:

“The survey indicates that voters respond very favorably to information about King’s experience living his progressive values every day and his bold policy priorities. Voters from across all demographic groups react positively to King being a proven progressive with a criminal justice reform plan that ends the death penalty, legalizes and taxes recreational marijuana, expands Medicaid to cover 800,000 more Floridians, and expands high-wage job opportunities by making community college and trade schools free. Voters react favorably to King’s courage to hold politicians’ of both parties feet to the fire in taking on the NRA.

“Additionally, results from this survey show that King has special appeal to important voter segments that are expected to turn out in high proportions in the August primary. King grows his strong base with females, progressives, African-Americans, Hispanics, and voters across all age groups throughout the state to lead all other candidates by a wide margin after voters hear communication about his priorities and policies.

“The survey clearly shows that if voters hear about King’s story and his plans to work on behalf of Floridians, his support level could grow to 33 percent, which in this crowded field of Democratic candidates would be more than enough to ensure the Democratic nomination for Governor of Florida.”

Adam Putnam

NBC News poll: Adam Putnam clear GOP Gov. front-runner, Democrats split

A fresh poll shows Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam with a solid lead in the Republican primary for Governor, while on the Democratic side it’s still anybody’s race.

The NBC News/Marist Poll found Putnam leading Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 38-21 percent, with 39 percent undecided. That lines up with another recent poll, commissioned by the pro-Putnam Florida Chamber of Commerce, which gives the second-term Commissioner a 32-15 lead.

On the Democratic side, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is on top with 19 percent support, followed by former Congresswoman Gwen Graham in the No. 2 spot with 17 percent support.

The other three Democrats vying for the Governor’s Mansion — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene — combine to have 15 percent support among Sunshine State Democrats, 47 percent of whom say they haven’t decided who they will support in the primary.

Only about a third of those who said they were supporting a particular candidate in the Democratic primary said they were firm supporters, adding a layer of mystery regarding who is really on top in the five-way race primary.

Undecideds make up a much higher share of the Democratic side in the NBC News/Marist Poll than they did in a recent poll from RABA Research, which also found Levine and Graham in tight contest for the top two spots 27-26 percent, followed by King at 15 percent, Gillum at 8 percent and Greene at 3 percent.

Crosstabs included in the poll mainly focused on President Donald Trump and the national political climate. Floridians gave Trump a negative job approval rating, with 43 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving; that meshes with the 56 percent who told NBC News/Marist that they didn’t think Trump should  be re-elected to another term in 2020.

When it comes to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president, 46 percent of Floridians say it’s fair, while 36 percent are calling foul. About one in six said they were unsure.

Despite the mediocre-to-negative outlook on the president, 46 percent of Floridians say the economy is improving and he deserves some credit. A quarter of Floridians recognized the improvements, but don’t credit them to Trump, while another quarter says the economy has stayed flat since he took office. Just 1 percent said the economy has worsened in the past 18 months.

Andrew Gillum

Andrew Gillum makes his case at Orlando town hall

Central Florida Democrats may not have gotten a debate in their backyard, but they did get to hear Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum give his pitch Tuesday on why he should be the Democrat to go toe-to-toe with Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis in November.

Before the town hall got into full swing, Gillum made clear, without naming names, why it was happening in the first place — he (and primary opponent Chris King) had signed on for a Central Florida debate, but former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine were keen on sticking to the five primary debates all candidates originally agreed to.

“In spite of the debate being canceled, Orange County and Orlando matter to me” … “in fact, it should matter to anybody who wants to be Governor of this great state,” Gillum said. “I’m prepared to go to every corner of this state because when you’re the governor of Florida, you’re not the governor for some of Florida you’re the governor for all of Florida.”

Gillum then launched into the platform that should be familiar to most who have kept tabs on his campaign since he entered the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott over a year ago.

He dogged the incumbent for not expanding Medicaid and turning away federal cash for high-speed rail; he gave a full-throated endorsement for Amendment 4; and he detailed an extensive list of education priorities he’ll push for if elected — a $50,000-a-year base salary for teachers, better early education, and more opportunities for K-12 students who aren’t college-bound to learn skills that can land them a place in the workforce.

Many of the questions asked by the crowd were on topics that Team Gillum had already hammered out a snappy response for during his time on the campaign trail.

On guns, he told a young student that “no parent should fear that their kid will come home in a body bag,” and that he was fully in favor of arming teachers … with better salaries” but never firearms.

On marijuana, he said the Republican-controlled state Legislature had shirked the will of the people and “dragged their feet” on implementing medical marijuana. He also mentioned his support for full legalization of the drug, citing the racial disparity in the criminal prosecution of marijuana possession.

On private prisons, Gillum said: “I believe they ought to be illegal in this state.”

That line, like many others throughout the 90-minute event, led to a burst of applause from the crowd and an explosion of likes and hearts for those watching via the Facebook livestream. He also said he wanted other criminal justice reforms, namely an end to cash bail.

“We need money bail reform,” he said. “People sit in prisons for months when they’re not convicted of anything.”

The only true curveball Gillum fielded was a question about the dysfunction in Tallahassee’s City Hall, which has long been under investigation by the FBI for alleged corruption among elected officials. Gillum is not a target of that investigation, but some people with close ties to him are.

“I’m willing to take responsibility for what my actions have been. Not the actions of a colleague who might have been independently elected,” said Gillum, adding that he hoped voters would look at his 15-year record in public office, first as a city commissioner, then as Mayor.

Later on, a charter school employee asked for Gillum’s position on funding for-profit schools, and he didn’t blunt the edge on the language he and other candidates for Governor have employed thus far, telling her that Florida “shouldn’t be funding for-profit education” and that he believes if elected, public K-12s “can do better” because they “have done better” in the past, before the prevalence of high-stakes testing.

The closing minutes of the town hall saw Gillum pass the mic to Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, who gave him a very personal endorsement in the primary race.

She said she met Gillum when she rushed to Tallahassee on the eve of her daughter’s death in 2015, and in that hour of need, Gillum was the first person to reach out to her and her family. Since then she’s kept her eye on the Tallahassee pol and has liked what she’s seen.

She then riled up the crowd with an impassioned recounting of Gillum’s merits as a candidate, while also knocking his opponents.

“I don’t care who your momma or daddy are — yeah, that’s some shade there. I don’t care how much money you have,” Hill said of the other Democrats in the race. “ … Gillum is the choice for working Floridians.”

Philip Levine talks Medicaid expansion, pre-existing conditions in new ad

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is out with a new ad for his gubernatorial campaign detailing his plan to fix Florida’s health care system.

The 30-second spot, “Remedy,” is Levine’s first ad covering health care since he hit radio in the early phase of his campaign with English- and Spanish-language ads encouraging listeners to sign up for health care plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. It’s backed up by a $1 million ad buy.

The new ad features Levine speaking with patients in a clinic waiting room as he talks about health care in Florida and his plans to fix the problems with it.

“This is where families come for help, but we’re now ranked almost dead last for health funding, leaving thousands of Floridians on waiting lists fighting for their lives,” Levine says in the ad. “I’m Philip Levine and I’m running for Governor to give everyone the health care they need.”

Levine then details his health care plan: “We will expand Medicaid, end the waiting lists, and unlike the president we will cover pre-existing conditions, because no one should go to bed at night fearing they can’t afford to wake up.”

Though health care has been a staple of Democratic campaigns for a decade, the issue has been forced to take a back seat for the past several months of the 2018 election cycle as Puerto Rican migration, gun control, and most recently immigration issues have dominated much of the dialogue in the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Levine is running against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Orlando-area businessman Chris King in the Democratic primary. Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene joined the field at the beginning of June.

Graham also recently released an ad saying she would expand Medicaid if elected governor and the other candidates have stated they would do the same, often using the topic to ding Scott for his flip-flop on expanding the federal and state health insurance program for the very poor.

To date, Levine leads the pack in fundraising with more than $15 million raised and more than $10 million spent so far, including a substantial amount of self-funding. That could change in the coming weeks depending on how deep Greene is willing to dig into his own pockets — he has told multiple media outlets that he is willing to spend “whatever it takes” on his campaign.

The ad is below.

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