The Kiss-off: Donald Trump dubs Andrew Gillum strong warrior—in the ‘future’
Gillum, Trump

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President Donald Trump may have just directed his most damaging tweet yet at Democrat Andrew Gillum. He paid him a compliment.

“Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on having run a really tough and competitive race for Governor of the Great State of Florida,” Trump tweeted.

“He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future—a force to reckon with!”

While the tone read uncharacteristically kind, the grammar was decided past tense, serving as the latest and loudest of political assessments on the state of Florida’s gubernatorial race.

Namely, it’s over, whether Gillum concedes soon or not.

As President Trump’s words turned gentle, those of fellow Democrats grew increasingly loud. A growing number of leaders within Gillum’s party suggest in less subtle ways each day that this race is done.

“Every minute Andrew Gillum doesn’t concede at this point he looks worse and worse (or at least he does to me),” Democratic consultant Matthew Isbell tweeted Thursday. “It’s over. Move on.”

The gubernatorial vote this year did turn out historically close. Republican Ron DeSantis led Gillum by 33,683 votes after a machine recount, about 0.41 percent of more than 8.2 million ballots cast.

But the machine recount netted Gillum just one vote, and the margin, while close, wasn’t enough to trigger a hand recount, unlike the five other state elections that went to machine recount.

Gillum himself yesterday continued to urge voters to check on their absentee ballots. A lawsuit connected to the U.S. Senate recount led a judge to grant voters until 5 p.m. to verify their ballots.

But attorneys for the Division of Electionssay some 3,688 vote-by-mail ballots and 93 provisional ballots got rejected statewide for bad signatures. That’s not enough to make a meaningful difference in the gubernatorial election.

Gillum spokesman Kevin Cate stressed yesterday that the push to count every vote is about more than finding a path to the governor’s mansion for Gillum. “The @AndrewGillum campaign was doing something much bigger than just trying to win an election,” he tweeted. “And we did. And we still are.”

And Gillum has until the end of the month to challenge the election results.

DeSantis yesterday called results of the machine recount “clear and unambiguous,” and he marked the end of the recount by inviting Gillum to join him for a “conversation about the future of our great state.”

The only question still outstanding in the Governor’s race may be when Gillum feels ready for the talk—and when he finally speaks he will, once again, concede.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


  • Losers, Party of Six

    November 17, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Dems lose Governor’s mansion 6 straight since ’98.

  • JLS

    November 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I am surprised Dems pushing AG to concede. It seems like he did it about perfect right after the recount he conceded. Everyone acting like there was some meaningful difference between conceding last week and this week was just pushing some personal agenda. That short time difference will make no difference in government transition. I guess it did give Scott and Trump chances to show how little they care about the democratic process and DeSantis a chance to show he can behave with class. So I guess something came out of it.

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