RGA digital campaign asks: ‘Who is Andrew Gillum?’

RGA Andrew Gillum ad

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is out with a new digital campaign targeting Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum, attempting to highlight past controversies during his time as Tallahassee’s mayor.

The ad begins with text asking, “Who is Andrew Gillum?” It then attempts to answer that question with a series of newscasts covering reports on Gillum’s political past.

“Dozens of emails have been publicly released regarding the investigation into Tallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s handling of his city-issued email,” says one news anchor as headlines of news articles plaster the screen.

“Now more controversy concerning Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum,” says another anchor.

“Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is under fire once again,” recounts a third.

That’s followed by more headlines flashing on the screen regarding a separate FBI probe into a city community redevelopment agency.

The ad closes with the words, “Andrew Gillum can’t be trusted.” Florida Politics reached out to the Gillum campaign for comment.

Gillum faced blowback over his office’s use of email software to send out messages to a contact list which included political operatives and legislators. His office spent thousands of public dollars on the software, and some of the emails contained political messages.

However, a grand jury ultimately cleared Gillum of any wrongdoing, finding he did not use the software himself, and that the decision to use public funds was made by his chief of staff.

The ongoing FBI probe, and Gillum’s ultimate role in it, is still unclear. That inquiry is focused on possible “local public corruption” involving land developments.

Gillum is said to have cooperated with the investigation, and he has said the FBI told him he’s not a target. However, Adam Corey, a lobbyist and longtime friend of Gillum’s, was named in a subpoena. Gillum says he welcomes a look into any potential wrongdoing.

The RGA is also launching a website to bolster their campaign against Gillum’s candidacy. The site links to many of the same articles referenced in the digital ad.

“Radical far-left Democrat Andrew Gillum’s entire political career has been tainted by corruption,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson.

“From a major FBI investigation to his Costa Rican vacation with lobbyists and undercover FBI agents to his abuse of official public resources for political gain, Andrew Gillum has consistently failed to uphold the public trust. Andrew Gillum can’t be trusted to be honest or keep Florida on the right track.”

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) isn’t taking the campaign by the RGA lying down. The DGA announced Thursday it would pour $1 million into Andrew Gillum’s PAC, Forward Florida.

“Winning the Florida governor’s race is a top priority for the DGA this year,” said DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson.

“This significant investment will help Mayor Andrew Gillum build off his inspiring primary victory and continue spreading his positive message across Florida. Andrew Gillum’s historic candidacy gives Floridians the opportunity to expand access to healthcare, fund public education to provide opportunity for every child, and diversify and grow Florida’s economy.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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