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Where are Ron DeSantis’ better angels?

Wednesday night provided a case study on how politicians should respond when a natural disaster hits their state.

Offering a shining example, former U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham was pictured volunteering at a local Red Cross shelter in Gadsden County. This is the second time in 13 months Graham and her husband helped manage a shelter set up to assist as many as 700 people.

Gwen Graham offers assistance to an evacuee from Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018. Photo credit: Facebook.

Contrast Graham’s response with that of Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for Florida governor. Already facing criticism, including from former Governor Jeb Bush, for continuing to air negative ads against his opponent, the former congressman took to to Fox News to attack Andrew Gillum yet again.

DeSantis had earlier in the day told Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski that while Hurricane Michael was bearing down on Florida it was not an appropriate time to talk about the campaign. Yet here was DeSantis hours later, making a partisan play against Gillum.

It’s inexplicable what Team DeSantis was thinking when it decided it was a good idea for its candidate to appear on Fox News. Unless DeSantis was prepared to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with the number where viewers could text a donation to hurricane victims, he had no business appearing on network TV last night.

This is yet another unforced error from DeSantis — one that makes him appear insensitive, if not crass.

Contrary to what many others were arguing, I did not believe DeSantis’ negative ads needed to come down in markets not affected by the hurricane. My thinking was influenced by what a bad decision it was for John McCain to suspend his presidential campaign during the 2008 financial crisis. Rather than looking like a statesman, McCain came off as confused and ineffectual.

That’s why DeSantis was smart not to suspend his campaign. And he was doing the right thing by organizing low-key rallies where folks could donate supplies to the victims in north Florida.

But then he undoes all that by playing political pundit — the job for which he appears best suited — on Fox News.

There is no doubt that Ron DeSantis excels at being, as the Florida Democratic Party labeled him last night, a “partisan warrior.” But this latest episode raises the question: Has he demonstrated he has the leadership needed to govern the state?

Look at Gwen Graham. Look at the pictures her husband posted on Facebook. She exudes the kind of empathy we hope for in not just our leaders, but ourselves. That in moments of great consequence, we are capable of offering something of ourselves to those in need.

Look at this picture of Graham comforting a child impacted by the hurricane.

It’s hard to see that and not wonder why she’s not Florida’s next governor. But that would take away from what Gillum accomplished on the campaign trail and so that kind of question has to be put away some place.

But what can be asked is this: Why have we never seen this kind of moment from Ron DeSantis? The only time I can think of DeSantis being photographed with a child is when he made that television ad in which he taught his children about why America needed to ‘build a wall.’

Just once, it would be reassuring to see Ron DeSantis, the well-educated former naval officer, husband and father, allow his better angels to guide him on the campaign trail.

Instead, he’s listening to someone — or something inside him — that thought it best, while hundreds of thousands of Floridians were without power, to go on TV and knock his political opponent one more time.

Andrew Gillum

Fallen trees cause mass power outages in Tallahassee, says Andrew Gillum

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum described widespread power outages in Tallahassee Wednesday afternoon as Hurricane Michael lashed the city.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Brian Williams, Mayor Gillum (the Democratic nominee for Governor) noted the city’s legendary tree canopy, combined with the force of the storm, has already spawned tens of thousands of power outages in the capital city.

The threat from the storm for Tallahassee, Gillum said, “is the possibility of downed trees.”

“Already we’ve seen trees come down on power lines, on homes, and vehicles,” Gillum said. “So far we’ve got north of 45,000 of our utility customers that are out.”

That includes the Emergency Operations Center, Gillum said, which is running on generator power as of Wednesday afternoon.

“The strongest winds still are coming in,” Gillum said, until 8 p.m.

Gillum’s storm management is under especial scrutiny after ads from the Republican Party of Florida that lambasted him for delays in power restoration during Hurricane Hermine.

Hermine saw 100,000 customers without power; restoration took a week.

However, it’s hard to find anyone willing to defend those ads, even as they ran throughout the runup to Michael’s unprecedented landfall as a strong Category 4 storm in mid-October.

We asked Republican Ron DeSantis, in Jacksonville Wednesday morning for a rally turned collection of hurricane relief supplies, about the provenance of the ads, and he sidestepped the question.

“There will be time for us to deal with that,” DeSantis said.

Miami Mayors Dan Gelber, Alex Penelas blast Ron DeSantis for ‘hurricane politics’

Florida Democrats chided Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis for running negative ads against opponent Andrew Gillum as Florida faces Hurricane Michael.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber expressed shock that DeSantis would run attack ads as Panhandle residents glue themselves to TV sets for live storm updates.

“This was a knowing decision to exploit one of the most fearsome storms our state is ever going to encounter,” he said.

A new attack running in North Florida has DeSantis attacking Tallahassee Mayor Gillum over an ongoing FBI investigation in the city, as reported by CNN’s Ryan Nobles.

Republican Party of Florida officials say those ads will no longer run.

“The order to take the ads down in the affected areas was made,” said Meredith Beatrice, RPOF Communications Director. “Any statement to the contrary is simply wrong.”

Regardless, Gelber and former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas lambasted the decision to run ads during a conference call with reporters.

Penelas and Gelber both led Miami Beach government through hurricane threats, and said politicians should dispense with hyperpartisan attacks as communities rally together amid storms.

“There’s clearly a time for politics and there’s time to govern,” Penelas said. “Right now, people’s lives are literally at risk.”

Gelber noted the FBI ads come on top of ads criticizing Gillum for Tallahassee’s response to Hurricane Hermine.

Florida Politics today asked DeSantis at a Jacksonville rally about his decision to run those ads but he declined to discuss the matter.

DeSantis today elected not to hold a typical rally and instead gathered supplies to be dispersed in Michael’s aftermath.

But the mayors said the actions of Gillum, who left the campaign trail to lead storm preparation in Tallahassee, stand in stark contrast to DeSantis’ decision to continue campaigning.

“Ron DeSantis decided a month ago that he was going to resign from Congress,” Penelas said. “He has no official role in this moment, so now he’s resorting to this very dirty and partisan politics, which is unfortunate and there couldn’t be a worse time.”

And the men also said that response stood in contrast to Democrats, who defer to Republican Gov. Rick Scott during storm preparation and recovery.

They noted that Scott also left the campaign trail; he’s the Republican nominee challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“I’m supporting Nelson full-throatedly,” Gelber said, “but I have previously said I feel that Scott doesn’t inject partisanship into these moments. And nobody should. That’s what’s amazing. Who does this?”

On the call, the Democrats also dismissed comparisons to a lawsuit filed by Florida Democrats to extend voter registration, or to the fact Nelson continues to send fundraising emails.

So how long should any moratorium on negative campaigning last? How long should DeSantis hold back on criticizing his opponent’s record with Election Day less than a month away?

“We can’t answer that question,” Penelas said. “We don’t know what the aftermath is going to be. We’ve had some storms here in South Florida where in a day or two, you’re back up and running.

“But if you’ve got communities without power, where supplies aren’t arriving, if you’ve got widespread damage and people are actually suffering, that’s still not the time to engage.”

Gelber added: “I don’t know exactly the safe harbor, but I can tell you now, it hasn’t been the last day or two.”

No ‘rah-rah campaign rally’ for Ron DeSantis in Jacksonville with Hurricane Michael hammering Florida

As Category 4 Hurricane Michael prepared to slam the Panhandle and the Big Bend, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis implored Jacksonville supporters to offer tangible help.

DeSantis deviated from the usual format of what he called a “rah-rah campaign rally” and turned his Wednesday morning campaign stop into a plea for hurricane relief. Dozens of supporters who showed up complied, helping to load staple items into a 15-foot U-Haul with a “Florida Strong” placard affixed to the side.

The truck was a third full by the time the efforts were complete.

The supplies, said DeSantis, would go “wherever makes sense after the storm.”

Diapers were on the ask list, said DeSantis, a lesson learned since his wife, Casey, and he had a daughter after Hurricane Matthew lashed his district.

“We didn’t have Madison yet,” DeSantis quipped. “Diapers and the formula and all that … very important for people with young children.”

DeSantis noted that just a week ago, no one expected a storm. Especially in recent days, it’s “grown in ferocity.”

The candidate also noted that he has talked to Gov. Rick Scott, who is “on top of this … concerned about the storm surge.”

“A 12-foot storm surge, that’s just life-threatening, no two ways about it,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis was not interested in discussing his campaign’s ads that pillory his general election opponent, Andrew Gillum, for botched response during Hurricane Hermine. Nor did he want to discuss the future of the campaign under its new manager, Jacksonville’s own Susie Wiles.

“There will be time for us to deal with that,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis, who was once stationed at Naval Station Mayport, used what could be described as Adam Putnam style messaging at the event, extolling veterans both as a class and contributors to the state and the region, and discussing his own work in Congress helping veterans with post-traumatic stress.

“Not everyone is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice,” DeSantis said of the costs of war. “You’re basically writing a check to the United States of America up to and including your life.”

Nancy Soderberg expects to win the money race in CD 6.

New poll shows Nancy Soderberg, Michael Waltz statistically tied in CD 6

Democrat Nancy Soderberg and Republican Michael Waltz are tied in the race for Florida’s 6th Congressional District according to a new poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

The poll, conducted Oct. 1 through Oct. 4, found both candidates pulling 45 percent among voters in CD 6, the seat recently vacated by Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis. The remaining 9 percent are undecided.

The new numbers indicate there has been a bit of jockeying in the sprint toward Election Day — GQR’s prior measure of the race, released Sept. 6, found Waltz had a 2-point lead with only 7 percent of voters undecided. The pollster claims the Fox News personality’s slippage is due to weak support among Republicans.

“Waltz is failing to motivate his own base, earning just 75 percent of the vote among registered Republicans. Soderberg receives 82 percent of the vote among registered Democrats,” the polling memo says. “Soderberg also leads Waltz among self-ascribed independents by 20 percentage points and voters who are undecided more closely resemble Soderberg supporters than Waltz supporters.”

The GQR poll surveyed 400 voters via live telephone interviews with a 43 percent cell phone component. A third of the sample were registered Democrats, while 42 percent were Republicans and 24 percent were independents. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

CD 6 covers parts of St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler and Volusia counties on Florida’s Atlantic coast. President Donald Trump won CD 6 by 17 points two years ago while DeSantis, who held the seat for three terms, won re-election by 17 points.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato both rate CD 6 as “likely Republican,” while Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight puts the odds of a flip at less than 25 percent. Their forecasting model currently expects Waltz to win 52-48  in November.

Still, Soderberg had raised more than $1.7 million for her campaign through the pre-primary reporting period while Waltz had raised $1 million. She also held a nearly 4-to-1 lead in cash on hand thanks in part to Waltz having to get through a bruising three-way Republican primary.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Joe Henderson: No time for politics with Hurricane Michael on its way

Politics seems so trivial in times like the Florida Panhandle is about to experience with Hurricane Michael. Petty red and blue arguments are out of place when a storm like this threatens everything and everyone in its path.

If you’re a Democrat and intend to vote with vigor for Bill Nelson to the U.S. Senate, you still should be rooting for his election opponent, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, to carefully and successfully manage this horrible situation in the days ahead.

Same goes for Republicans who support Ron DeSantis for Governor. I sure hope they’re wishing for his Democratic opponent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, to be a steady and effective leader in this crisis. If it costs your man a few votes, at least you can be consoled by the fact it also might have saved some lives.

Only the most cynical and selfish person would think otherwise.

There is an appropriate time to question how leaders stepped up during a storm like this, but for the next few days, everyone just needs to be a Floridian. Think we’re up to it?

I hope we are.

But here is a reality: Hurricane Michael likely will cause catastrophic damage, and that can’t be fixed overnight. When Hurricane Irma blew through Tampa last year, some people went many days without power. There were flooded streets. Fallen trees and large limbs blocked some roads and it took a while to get them all clear.

Grocery stores had near-empty shelves for many days after the storm.

But as Floridians, we had each other and that’s how we got through it all — well, that, peanut butter, Chunky soup, and the stockpile from the local ABC store you safely stashed away.

At my home, power was out for a few days but people on the other side of the street had lights. So, you know what a neighbor did? She allowed us to run a long extension cord from her outdoor outlet to our house to keep the refrigerator going.

A small thing maybe, but it made life a little bit easier in a trying time.

Random acts of kindness like that will be in high demand in the next few days.

Charitable agencies will be looking for contributions, and I’m sure Floridians — and thousands of people from other states — will step up. But thank the workers, too.

I think one of the great things we see in this country is when workers from power companies all over the country head into a disaster zone to get the lights back on as quickly as possible. They’re working extra-long days away from their families and the lives they know just to help strangers get back on their feet.

If and when scoundrels try to take advantage of a natural disaster with price-gouging, looting, or bogus insurance claims, thank law enforcement officials when they make these mopes pay for their behavior. We had a FEMA rep show up at my house months after Irma hit to process the claim we made for our roof and other damage.

One problem: We didn’t have any significant damage and we hadn’t filed a claim. But somebody had our address and other information and was also trying to bill the government under our name for staying several weeks in a local hotel.

Storms like Michael are just the price we pay for living in Florida, and some bad people will try to take advantage of that. As we always find out though, the good outnumber the bad by a lot.

What’s about to happen here isn’t red or blue.

If somebody in authority really messes up, there will be time before the election to deal with that. But for now, just remember that Hurricane Michael isn’t red and isn’t blue, and that means we’re all in this together.

Michael Bloomberg, DGA boost Andrew Gillum’s fundraising

Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum raised more than $3.3 million through his political committee last week, receiving hefty support from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Democratic Governors Association and wealthy Democratic donors.

Bloomberg, who visited the Sunshine State over the weekend while reportedly exploring a 2020 presidential bid, cut a $250,000 check for Gillum’s committee, Forward Florida, according to the state Division of Elections.

Other big-ticket donations came from Democratic donor Marsha Laufer, of Manalapan, who chipped in $500,000, and the Barbara Stiefel Trust, which wrote a $100,000 check for the Tallahassee Mayor’s gubernatorial bid. The Democratic Governors Association chipped in $1 million, bringing its total investment in Gillum so far to $4 million.

With the latest committee report filing, Gillum has raised just shy of $20 million since his upset primary. Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, through his committee and campaign accounts, has raised more than $16 million since his primary victory against Republican Adam Putnam. That sum includes fundraising from the Florida Facts committee, which has run a series of televised attack ads against Gillum, but omits last week’s fundraising numbers, due Friday.

Also boosting Gillum’s fundraising numbers were law, real estate and capital management interests. Trial attorney firm Podhurst Orsteck cut Gillum’s committee a $100,000 check. Another firm, Edison Colson, chipped in $75,000.

Miami Beach development project 420 Lincoln Road, West Ventures, and Lakeland Residential Group combined for $100,000 last week, all from the same Miami Beach address.

Rabbis Steven Engel, Jack Romberg: Take anti-Semitism out of Florida politics

Are politics in Florida truly descending to the lowest level?

We ask that because of articles appearing around Florida in which the Ron DeSantis campaign accuses Mayor Andrew Gillum of being anti-Israel, and Chris King along with Gillum of being anti-Semitic.

As the rabbis of two major Jewish communities in Florida, we object to any campaign using the politics of fear to influence our people.

The accusations of Gillum being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic are based on his endorsement by the Dream Defenders, a group connected to Black Lives Matter, which has taken an anti-Israel position.

Their endorsement of Gillum has nothing to do with Israel, and everything to do with his concern for racial and bigotry issues in our country. If we were to stoop to that level of politics, we could accuse DeSantis of being a white nationalist, possibly a racist and maybe even anti-Semitic. Why? Because DeSantis is a former co-manager of a Facebook page that contained racist remarks. In addition, there are white nationalists supporting his candidacy.

Does that actually make him a racist?  We would say no because neither of us personally knows Mr. DeSantis; so, to judge him on that level would be totally unfair.

However, between the two of us, we know Mayor Gillum and Chris King.

I, Rabbi Romberg, have served as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Tallahassee since July 2001. Temple Israel is the largest Jewish congregation along the North Florida I-10 corridor outside of Jacksonville.

I met Andrew Gillum 15 years ago through a congregant serving on the Tallahassee City Commission with him. In 2006, our Jewish community lobbied to have Tallahassee become a sister city to Ramat Hasharon in Israel. Then-Commissioner Gillum was extremely supportive of that project and, when it became official, traveled to Israel.

I accompanied him and our Mayor at that time on their tour of Israel. I witnessed Gillum’s positive impression of Israel’s great success as a country, answered questions about the country’s history and joined him in exploring Israel’s culture.

In later years, Gillum made two more trips to Israel, which taught him the difficulties Israel faces and deepened his appreciation for having strong economic ties between Israel and Florida. It also solidified his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Just as important as supporting policies regarding Israel, Gillum’s has shown strong support for Tallahassee’s Jewish community. Here is one example — Temple Israel’s largest fundraising event is our annual Jewish Food and Cultural Festival. As both a Commissioner and Mayor, Gillum has volunteered numerous times to work at the festival. He never wanted to be the center of publicity or attention, but simply worked alongside a group of our congregants, making and serving sandwiches.

I, Rabbi Engel, have been the rabbi of Congregation of Reform Judaism for 21 years.

It is Orlando’s and Central Florida’s largest congregation. I am also a co-host of a weekly radio show called “Friends Talking Faith” along with a Reverend and an Imam.

Through my interfaith work, and on a personal level, I know Chris King. He and I also have many mutual friends who we are both very close to. It is antithetical to everything I have heard Chris say and do, in public and private, to think that he is anti-Semitic.

In fact, he is one of the most open, embracing and empathic religious people I know. After the Pulse massacre here in Orlando, he quickly reached out to support the LGBTQ community as a religious person.

He has many close friends who are my synagogue members who he confides in as if they were his own family.

The incident that is being used to smear Chris was simply a young adult misspeaking. He has taken responsibility for his words and apologized in a repentant way. This was ignorance and not anti-Semitism.

To not admit the difference and use it to smear someone is dishonest. The irony is that at the same time this happened, Chris was being targeted for being a Christian. He knew what it felt like to be targeted and also had a brother who was targeted. I know that as a person of faith, Chris would never do the same thing to others that was done to him. It is simply not in his character, nor in the family that raised him.

This charge of Chris King being anti-Semitic is a despicable tactic being used to scare Jews away from him. Jewish Floridians should not fall for this, because our history exemplifies the many times people have branded us and hurt us, without knowing us.

For us to do the same to anyone else is inconceivable.

Both of us ask that rather than engage in character denigration, all political candidates and those supporting their campaigns, show respect for Florida Jews by sharing their policy plans regarding economics, the environment, education, health care and yes, continuing to improve our relationship with Israel.

The Jews of Florida care about what is best for all people of our great state.

You will not impress our community through the low-level politics of personal degradation.


Rabbi Steven Engel is from Orlando. Rabbi Jack Romberg is from Tallahassee.


Ron DeSantis campaign brings in operative Tim Baker for final stretch

With four weeks before the primary, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis brought on yet another seasoned hand for his campaign’s stretch run.

Florida Politics learned Monday evening that operative Tim Baker joined the campaign last week in a senior leadership role, offering strategic and political guidance.

Baker, one of a series of recent staff moves in DeSantis World that included bringing on campaign manager Susie Wiles and communications specialist Sarah Bascom, asserted that the campaign is “starting to hit stride” and “we are all working like crazy.”

Baker, an operative in his mid-30s with a Florida State law degree, is making a full-circle move with this latest gig: in 2012, not too long after joining the Data Targeting shop, Baker was a part of DeSantis’ first successful run for Congress.

At that point, DeSantis was a political neophyte, learning the mechanics of a campaign. And Baker was one of many steadying hands.

“We advise Ron on steps his campaign should take. We have expertise running congressional elections, and doing it successfully,” Baker said. “If that makes us insiders, I guess we will wear that label.” Baker told the Florida Times-Union.

Soon enough, Baker was acknowledged as a rising star in Florida politics as one of the top oppo researchers in the game.

In quotes, however, he was less interested in self-promotion and more in extolling his bond with his clients.

“I learned in the Marine Corps to never never never give up… loyalty is key,” Baker said in 2013.

Baker and frequent collaborator Brian Hughes turned their attention to the 2015 municipal elections in Jacksonville, a watershed campaign in which former Republican Party of Florida chair Lenny Curry defeated Mayor Alvin Brown.

This was notable for many reasons; among them, Brown, even after a rough and tumble campaign, still had approval over 50 percent even in defeat.

Baker’s polling was key to that race, observed current DeSantis campaign manager Susie Wiles.

“He is so precise,” Wiles told the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Beyond being precise, Baker also knew how to keep his own counsel, Wiles observed regarding a pension reform referendum campaign she chaired and Baker polled for.

“The last time I checked, I was co-chair of the pension campaign (Yes for Jacksonville),” Wiles said. “At no time did he (Baker) ever share data with me.”

The strategy for that pension campaign is one that may prove useful to remember as DeSantis attempts to flip a poll trend that has shown Gillum up (sometimes outside the margin of error).

Key was a Bakerian deep-dive data operation, with specific appeals made to medium-propensity voters, to female homeowners between the ages of 35 and 46, and to other blocs of voters, where support could be firmed up and maximized.

One can already see evidence of such appeals in the DeSantis campaign, which smartly and in a timely fashion went up on TV last week to pillory Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for botched storm response after 2016’s Hurricane Hermine.

Such ads can be seen as part of a larger strategy to define Gillum in the “traditional major party candidate” way. Baker notes that Gillum emerged unscathed from an oppo-free Democratic primary, while DeSantis was “pounded in the primary,” as support from President Donald Trump drove a narrative that went well beyond Florida borders.

The choice, Baker believes, will come down to one of “leadership” (DeSantis) versus a “feel-good choice without substance.”

Baker believes DeSantis will find a way to win.

“He has always overcome long political odds,” Baker noted, remembering that first race, when DeSantis was outraised against a field of sitting officials, but still “stomped the field.”

“His work ethic is unmatched,” said Baker, who himself is known for an ambitious portfolio of candidates and causes that has made him an increasingly valuable commodity throughout the country.

Andrew Gillum

‘Don’t come to my state and talk trash about my city’: Andrew Gillum pushes back against Donald Trump

It took less than a day for Hurricane Michael to make partisan sparks fly.

Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum took to Twitter Monday evening to respond to vague criticisms offered by President Donald Trump earlier in the day at a stop in Orlando.

“Don’t come to my state and talk trash about my city while we are preparing for a Category 3 hurricane,” Gillum wrote in a tweet addressed to Trump. “We need a partner right now, not a partisan.”

Gillum was referencing comments made by Trump during an exclusive interview with WFTV’s Christopher Heath following the president’s remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention.

Trump, who endorsed Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis and rallied alongside the former congressman in Tampa ahead of the primary election, praised DeSantis and criticized Gillum, along with his tenure as Mayor of Tallahassee — all without directly mentioning Gillum or the capital city.

“[DeSantis’] opponent runs a place that has a lot of problems and I know it very well, but it’s got a lot of problems, tremendous corruption, tremendous crime,” Trump told Heath.

Trump also suggested Gillum “runs an area and a city that’s got among the worst statistics in the country and certainly in the state.”

When it comes to crime, Trump may have been referring to reports released that have shined an unfavorable light on Tallahassee.

One report, which reviewed data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, found Tallahassee had 767 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2015, far more than in any of Florida’s 21 other metro areas observed by the FBI. Another report, which only examined FBI statistics on property crime, found Tallahassee had 52 property crimes per 1,000 residents, making it the tenth-worst city in the country for crimes such as burglary or larceny

Those stats are nothing new. Leon County, which houses Tallahassee, has had the highest crime rate in the state since 2014, although Gillum has recently pointed to 2017 — which saw the lowest crime rate in the county since 2013 —as evidence that the area is improving.

Hurricane Michael is currently tracking toward the Panhandle and Big Bend regions. It is expected to make landfall somewhere between Pensacola and Panama City, possibly as a category 3 hurricane on Tuesday night or Wednesday. Tallahassee is expected to be affected by the storm, and many state offices have closed their doors in preparation.

Gillum spent Monday in Tallahassee prepping residents for Hurricane Michael’s arrival.

Hurricanes have become a topic of contention in the race for Governor, with DeSantis hitting Gillum over the amount of time Tallahassee residents went without power in the wake of Hurricane Hermine in 2016 — Republicans claim the wait time could have been trimmed if outside workers waiting to help restore power to the city were allowed to pitch in on the effort.

Despite negative ads placing the blame on Gillum, he was not empowered to make that call.

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