Philip Levine rallies the troops for 2018 ‘war effort’ in Jacksonville
Phil Levine’s Airbnb beef overshadowed his Jacksonville stop.


Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a candidate for Governor, was in Jacksonville Monday evening to address Duval County Democrats.

Levine, on his second trip to Jacksonville in recent weeks, had a “living room” conversation earlier in the day. Even as Gwen Graham has a strong foothold in the area, what is clear is that Levine thinks Northeast Florida is in play as part of his “67 county strategy.”

Levine delivered an energetic intro, not unlike the beginning of the Phil Donahue show of yesteryear, rallying the crowd by saying the 2018 election is a “war effort” and “Florida is like Normandy,” before veering into autobiography.

Levine’s delivery during the autobiographical portion of the speech: generally much more Catskills-inflected than other candidates for Governor.

After discussing his unique approach to door knocking in condo buildings, Levine went into policy, addressing “sunny day flooding” in Miami Beach, noting that Jacksonville saw downtown flooding during Hurricane Irma.

“We got a lot of things done,” Levine said, including getting pumps and taking other resiliency measures such as raising roads for flooding, police reform, and codifying a “minimum living wage” in Miami Beach (which has led to lawsuits from stakeholders in the state).

Levine noted that, despite pressure to run again, he decided to “let someone else be Mayor.”

From there, the run for Governor. “The message has been resonating … I’ve been to towns you’ve never heard of … with a message many Democrats has never heard before.”

That message: deliberately “pro-business.” Levine notes that corporate HR policies tend to be progressive.

“Why wouldn’t we model this in Florida and do the same thing?”

Levine notes that his vision, one of aggressive corporate recruitment of the “right kinds of jobs,” differs from Rick Scott‘s vision of an “Applebee’s and Walmart on each corner.”

That, combined with his progressive record, is his sales pitch — a deliberate antidote, via an “authentic message,” to “25 years of losing elections.”

“The only way we’re going to win a general election is to make purple … mix red and blue,” Levine said.

Levine, in a brief Q&A, noted his opposition to assault weapons sales and sales of guns to the mentally ill, reprising themes from a letter to the leaders of the Florida Legislature last week in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

Overall, his remarks were well-received, with even City Council members in the crowd appreciating his words and his vision.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Richard Paul Dembinsky

    February 25, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Notes for this amendment: Proposed 9/25/1789

    The next Governor should look at Amendment No. 1 before he attempts to eliminate Amendment No.2, HOWEVER, there is justification to Eliminate ALL of the First 27 Amendments to the Constitution. This will allow less debate over Amendment No. 2.

    Move over Amendment No. 2, lets start with the failure of Newspapers and Journalist from allowing the Common Caring People to be “EQUAL Candidates for Governor”….the action by Journalist and Newspaper Editors to eliminate the long shot candidates from discussion confirms that there is NO FREEDOM.

    Do what ever you want….give up on trying to eliminate Amendments to the Constitution. This is the 21st. Century. If YOU need a gun wonderful, but if I don’t have a gun be careful, my fingers are fast on this computer. YOUR Rights are protected…….PERIOD but words can break bones so be careful of using words like ….GUNS, Second Amendment…………I don’t want a Gun because I would again accidentally knock out again the window of the garage door. Don’t make Richard’s mistake and waste your trying to convince Richard you need a Gun on Any public lands for your protection. Police had guns in South Florida but did they use them to protect the students….NO….seems giving more guns to policeman and teachers is a fake mirror image to make it look like public safety when it is just to sell more guns. Look at this as if you cannot talk someone out of killing you best just pray the gun is heavy enough should it miss fires and you grab the gun to use to knock sense into that person’s brain.

    Now real stupid democrats that are simply going to vote for people like Philip Levine, Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham or even Mr. King….why go to the primary if you are going to simply go with the Rich political leaders. My suggestion is that you not vote, you don’t want to continue this endless debate about NRA, guns and how much money the democrats get from environmentalist that don’t want you to hunt. Would it be great on August 28, 2018, more democrats avoid voting than ever. Typically only one million democrats decide who is the best democrat to challenge the Honorable Republicans….that just love to promote gun sales. Okay, simply put up your hands and see if avoiding the democratic primary would get your message delivered to the worthless, democratic party leaders that push down challengers. Stop it democrats or no one will care if there is a democratic primary.

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