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Andrew Gillum speaks to crowd in Palatka.


Andrew Gillum packs house in, um, Palatka?

Andrew Gillum says he continues to find love in the strangest of places.

On Sunday, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate packed an auditorium in Palataka, a town of 10,000 in a county where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won by 36 percentage points.

“This enthusiasm and energy for Mayor Gillum and his message of fighting for all Floridians is historic,” said Gillum communications director Johanna Cervone.

“Today’s event in Palatka is another example of this campaign’s momentum and a reminder that Floridians are ready to elect a leader who will put Florida first. We’ll continue to bring this message to every corner of the state for the next 38 days because the only poll that matters is on Election Day.”

Of course, Gillum in his kickoff speech in Orlando earlier this month shared a story of going to The Villages and finding a larger-than-expected crowd of 500 supporters showed up. That event, he said, turned from a small meet-and-greet to a small-donation fundraiser raking in more than $6,000 in an afternoon—all in one of the strongest GOP strongholds in Florida.

The Democrat also found polling accolades from odd parties as well. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which this week endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, just made public a poll showing Gillum with a 6-point lead in the contest.

That’s consistent with other polling. RealClearPolitics’ composite index on the race shows the Democrat with a 4.5-point lead in the race, and every poll released since the Aug. 28 primary shows Gill ahead by 2 to 9 points.

The Gillum campaign today quickly sent out a release touting the size of Palatka crowd for the Democrat.

That stands in rather stark contrast to a Florida Democratic Party press release taunting DeSantis for drawing only a small crowd to church in Kissimmee in advance of the Republican Party of Florida’s 2018 Victory Dinner.

And the crowds continue to reinforce the message Gillum has unified the base around his organized campaign while DeSantis struggled to build momentum leading to the Nov. 6 general election.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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