‘Walk it like I talk it’: Andrew Gillum’s campaign may be surging at the right time

Andrew Gillum

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has heard that his campaign isn’t viable from the moment he got in the race.

People aren’t saying that anymore.

With the latest survey from St. Pete Polls of the Democratic race for Governor indicates that Gillum is within six points of frontrunner Gwen Graham (and a private poll showing Gillum at 33 percent, 11 points above the field), a coalition of progressive groups announced Monday that they will commit $3.5 million to help Gillum get over the finish line.

Meanwhile, he’s one of a few candidates barnstorming the state on a bus, and that bus rolled into Jacksonville Tuesday evening, where Gillum rallied “young professionals” at a downtown hotspot.

Gillum’s supporters in Jacksonville tend to be younger and more ethnically diverse than those backing the other Democrats (and never mind Republicans).

His strategy has been to expand the voter universe; however, as he has noted, resources had previously precluded him from letting his target voters know who he is.

Now, finally, they do know. If they didn’t, perhaps Bernie Sanders‘ swing through Central Florida with Gillum taught them.

And it’s just possible he can close the deal before next Tuesday. His team feels confident in talking about a “surge.” And Gillum, who was confident when he was polling next to Chris King, came into Jacksonville more so, having fulfilled his initial campaign vision, an “18 month view of engagement.”

Gillum, when asked about the new polls swinging his way, noted that his campaign didn’t begin its “paid communication until two weeks ago.”

“We knew that because we couldn’t match the financial resources of the other campaigns, that we had to wait until the iron was really hot before we could strike and maximize our message. As voters are learning that we are a real option in this race,” Gillum said, “they’re choosing us.”

“I believe it’s going to be that momentum that will surge us through [to the nomination],” Gillum said.

Regarding the third party groups backing him, Gillum noted that while he wasn’t deeply “familiar with what the outside groups are doing,” he hopes that “the $3.5 million investment will be directed toward the field.”

“That’s the best bang for the buck at this point, to get to voters and move those voters to the ballot box. If we do that,” Gillum said, “and they do that, we win.”

“I think we win anyway, but certainly … the field level is where we do best,” Gillum noted.

“We’ve been the same all the way through. We’ve led the field on all the issues,” Gillum added, “It’s after I’ve gone there on every issue, the candidates tend to follow me there.”

Voters, Gillum predicted, will be able to choose who represents their viewpoints “most authentically, what their experiences are as Floridians.”

Gillum has adopted the Migos “Walk it like I talk it” lyric as a de facto campaign anthem, a very much of-the-moment song that is a natural touchstone for his base — younger voters who understand that this election represents the beginning of a generational shift in Florida politics.

In front of a packed out crowd in Jacksonville’s 1904 music hall, one of the better known live music spots downtown, Gillum quoted that song again.

“I walk it like I talk it,” Gillum said. “Some of my opponents don’t.”

Indeed, with one major Democrat being a (at best) recently lapsed member of Mar-A-Lago and another one getting fundraising help from Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, it was easy to guess who that reference might have covered.

Gillum, walking the stage looking more like a performer than a politician, rocked the audience, but it was — in the end — GOTV.

“I want to be that governor, but I can’t be that governor unless you get out and vote,” Gillum noted.

Concepts like “work with dignity … a wage you can live on … not poverty and squalor” — these were not abstractions to those on hand. They were real to these millennials and Gen Y types, who see the 20th century conception of the middle class shrinking in the rear view mirror.

“There are more of us than there are of them,” Gillum said, regarding a potential general election clash with a Republican.

Polls are all over the place, and that general election battle may or may not happen.

But the feel in Jacksonville Tuesday night was that Gillum will be in it when the votes are counted in six days.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Christopher M. Kennard

    August 22, 2018 at 7:12 am

    “Walk it like you talk it” and mean it when you say and do it . . . every thought, word and deed, do indeed, matter . . . my life’s mantra.

    My Lady and I went down to see Andrew Gillum and Bernie Sanders together, speaking what needs to be said, doing what needs to be done by running for public office; asking us, the voters, to please do the same.

    Both Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum have put themselves on the front line of the progressive movement, encouraging us to have the gumption and nerve to “take on the political universe” by voting and encouraging other Florida voters to take decisive action, now, by voting!

    My Lady, Nancy, has never been involved in politics and like many folks, did not often find compelling issues, ideas, platform promises or candidates that inspired her to go vote in every election. However, this time she was lifted up by the good karmic energy and infusion of hope, promise and attainment universally felt and shared by everyone in the Orlando arena where Bernie and Andrew spoke of realizing our hopes and political dreams to become reality. One by one, people are “seeing” and believing it is possible!

    Our votes may count for little, at times being too few to matter . . . but as we cast our “independent” votes individually this year, our collective votes, all added up together, will matter because we are the majority of people who live, work and raise our families in Florida, and we care!

    For this is the time, the moment of promise converging with the “movement” in action, as we gather our numbers comprising the new majority of Florida voters and engulf the voting booth ballot boxes with overflowing votes cast by everyday, ordinary Florida citizens to win these elections . . . .

    And not just Andrew Gillum for Governor but all across the board, wherever there are good honest candidates with integrity and promising political proposals that are solid, achievable well worth the effort for the good they will do, on many fronts, like health, wages, environment and education . . . . This is the people’s peaceful “political revolution”.

    We intend to clean “our house” up in Tallahassee and across the State of Florida to sweep out the pervasive gritty “dirt” of political corruption, blind greed and lust for power to be replaced by folks like you and me, who will build together and initiate wise policies designed to assist and better the lives of the majority of all people, not just the “well-connected” wealthy and powerful “few”.

    It is up to us, folks! Please vote! Bring one other voter with you who may not vote otherwise to go vote . . . “double” your individual impact upon these elections. If most of us followed this simple step to increase the number of people voting this year, then we surely have the majority vote in these elections. Let’s do it!!!

  • John Clark

    August 22, 2018 at 9:07 am

    If you intend to “clean up” Tallahassee, don’t count on Gillum. He is in the heat of cronyism and corruption in City Hall and facing FBI investigation

    • Sandy

      August 22, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Exactly I am a black female and I am voting Republicans this dude is being backed by big money shadow donors and is very socialist and communist in views, no thanks Florida doesn’t need that this state has little to no debt this dude will destroy Florida and make life harder for everyone not illegal since he want sanctuary cities!

  • Hacky Sack

    August 22, 2018 at 11:26 am

    In the photo on the far right, Gillum’s BFF.
    Google Christopher Chestnut.

    • John Clark

      August 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      His BFF is Adam Corey, disgraced lobbyist, crony, fund raiser. Right now, Corey has disappeared from the Tallahassee political scene, singing like a bird to the FBI about corruption and cronyism in Tallahassee City Hall.

      • Hacky Sack

        August 22, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        Adam Corey, another fine upstanding Gillum associate.

  • MadMadam

    August 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    “Black female” my ass… You just say that because you don’t want people think you’re the racist white dude you are.

    Florida is in last place or close to it for quality in everything that matters. Rick Scott aka Voldemort turns the things he touches to ash. Gillum may be more socialist, but at least he cares about people other than himself.

    • downtomylevel

      August 23, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      take it easy there big guy, don’t wanna blow everyone away with your big brains

Comments are closed.


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