This could have been Andrew Gillum’s time to shine, instead he’s on the sidelines

Imagine if Andrew Gillum were still in the game today.

This could have been his moment.

With racial tension boiling over across the United States, African American voices are being heard in a way the nation hasn’t seen since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., perhaps even louder. The message is resonating beyond the liberal corners it has typically dominated and into the mainstream and even across party lines.

Never has there been a better time for African American leaders to shine.

Imagine how much Andrew Gillum would be in the spotlight right now had he not slipped into the salacious realm of drug use and South Florida partying.

Gillum, once the rising-est rising star in Florida politics, stayed in the spotlight even after he narrowly lost the 2018 Governor’s race to Ron DeSantis. He was all over CNN as a political commentator. He was the face of Florida Democrats’ get out the vote efforts. There was even talk of him being a VP contender in 2020.

That was all before police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd in what became a pivotal point in racial tensions nationwide. As a black Democrat in the spotlight, Gillum would have been a beacon of hope for the black community.

As much as the 2018 Governor’s race was historic — few expected Gillum, a progressive Democrat, to topple the establishment machine behind Gwen Graham — this time of nationwide protests and boiled over anger over institutional racism could have been Gillum’s moment.

His greatest political tragedy may now no longer be his infamous night in a South Florida hotel surrounded by booze, drugs and, allegedly, a male escort. Instead, it might be that he is now sidelined because of it.

Even as one of Gillum’s fiercest political critics, there’s no denying he would have been at the front of a now global movement.

I’m no stranger to the dark side. The skeletons in my closet are no secret and are still weaponized by those who seek to discredit me (looking at you, Anthony Sabatini). But those experiences, and the rebirth that I experienced when I found love, got married and became a dad, reshaped my life and I believe I am a better man for it.

If Gillum truly deconstructs his past mistakes and excises his demons, I know from first-hand experience that there IS a second act waiting for him. He’s too talented … too capable … too ambitious not to find his way back.

Some will argue his moment has passed, even if he enjoys a full rehabilitation, which I hope he does.

But it’s fair to consider another thing. Gillum’s slip into oblivion, fueled by addiction, came, according to his own words, after he fell into depression following his personally heartbreaking loss in 2018.

His critics asked the question after his Miami escapade: “Can you imagine if we had Andrew Gillum in the Governor’s mansion?” The state dodged a bullet, those critics argue.

Maybe we did. Maybe we did for other reasons, too. But maybe, just maybe, Gillum’s battle with addiction might not have happened had he won. Maybe the loss was too much. Maybe it pushed him into the dark, into the grim world of drugs and decline. If that’s the case, he has a path forward.

Either way, this could have been his moment.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Madalina

    June 11, 2020 at 6:37 am

    All major florida urban cities would have burned to the ground.

    • jon

      June 11, 2020 at 2:35 pm


    • Roslyn Williams

      June 11, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Peter
      Why isn’t the white evangelicals, “excises demons”. Are they hiding? What good are they going to demonstrate.?

    • Camille

      June 12, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Grammar police: “Urban cities”… is redundant. All cities are Urban…Duh

    • Jamie jett

      June 12, 2020 at 3:59 pm

      What!!! the white areas you speaking about.

    • Douglas FENNEMA

      June 12, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      You surely have got that right!

  • Charlie

    June 11, 2020 at 8:40 am

    There is a long list of people who have fell from grace but have returned to contribute to society. Andrew Gillum still has time to contribute. This movement can use words of wisdom and guidance from both political parties, we are all Americans first.

    • George Soros hates America

      June 11, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Soros boy is history. THE END

    • MW

      June 12, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Truth. I’m not even sure why they would write this article due to the systemic racism in this country that many blacks face on a daily, especially within the work culture that drove so many to drugs and Alcohol. Even highly intelligent and articulate whites have succumbed to the scrounge of addiction with less obstacles to face within their personal and professional lives. Leave him be to get a chance to redeem himself in peace.

  • Domino

    June 11, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Kevin Cate’s high dollar videos were wiped out with one still photo.

    • Ann

      June 11, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      Always an opportunity to do the right thing. We make mistakes over and over again, each time we should learn to do better. Consider mistakes to be an education tool. We are human and stand to make plenty of mistakes. Andrew Gillium should get the rehab, do a little soul searching and do the best he can each and everyday of his life. Andrew look back only to recognize/acknowledge ur mistakes, rectify and keep moving forward. #onlyoneperfectman

      • Doc

        June 12, 2020 at 11:24 am

        Perfectly said Ann.

  • Cocoforcocopops

    June 11, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Or maybe his predisposition to fall into what–as an experienced gay man–I can only describe as HARD drug use (Caverject? Really?) and male escorts would have been provoked by some other quotodienne cause (thousands of candidates lose elections every year, roughly 50% of those who run, without incident) and Florida would be facing the dual crises of pandemic and pandemonium, with a governor to foolish to refuse free tickets to Hamilton and too petty to man up and accept the small failures that should slide off his back like water on a duck. I think a clear majority of Floridians agree, Gillum was a bad candidate for Governor, but a good candidate for rehab and years of counseling, if he wants to save his marriage and do right by his family. Floridians will, I’m sure, give him all the time he needs.

  • Silas Babalola

    June 11, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    My heart profusely bled when I heard that news! I loved him passionately!

    • jon

      June 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      Never vote with your heart, Unless you have no brains…. then don’t vote at all!

  • Cynthia Griffis

    June 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    We dodged such a major bullet with that piece of crap not getting elected I hope he stays in rehab for a very long time

    • Jon

      June 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm


    • William Dickman

      June 11, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      I like him better as a drug addict, and two faced politician. That way I know exactly what I am in for.

      • Steve

        June 11, 2020 at 7:47 pm

        I so agree. We in Florida are so fortunate that he did not win. He was obviously not prepared for the job or adult life in general. The good thing now is he may have to, for the first time in his life, get a real job. He has never had a job outside of local Tallahassee government.

        He would have melted down in the current environment. Look what happened in the small town of Tallahassee with the hurricane response.

        • Laura Ottaviano

          June 12, 2020 at 3:27 pm

          I did not vote for Gillum and thought he would have been disastrous for Florida. However, I pray that he does get rehabilitated and finds his life balance. For his, his wife & children’s sake.

      • Fanny Garita

        June 12, 2020 at 9:22 pm

        💯 agree.

    • Zoey

      June 12, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      He belongs in prison.

  • Stephen

    June 11, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Cone on people..
    Why not Africa it’s so close to the United States,just take a swim.
    The continent is just so solidt.
    You can expand your own prime meridian parameters with this new game.called africken americana.
    Or translated an Italian black stallion from the underworld.
    Git that man back on the f.s.veiw where he try to win that popularity contest.As Drunken Americans need that kind of treatment..
    Drunken bums are infiltrating politics in Florida,and loitering the legislative as well as judicial,and executive branches.
    Until you get someone like Monty Markham,or Steve Allen back on point.Florida will be searching for losers,to make the others look like winning candidates.

    • Michael Scott

      June 12, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      Are you drinking?

  • Tina Phillips

    June 11, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I’ll vote for HIM we all fall down. And as an African American women who LOVE and support het BROTHER in their plight; THEY Will ALWAYS GET BACK UP. I WILL HELP THEM.

    • Truth Detector

      June 11, 2020 at 6:49 pm


  • Orlando Greg

    June 11, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Ironically, a friend and I were discussing Gillum just the other day. We both agreed that Gillum’s fall is terrible; however, he and I had divergent views. We both are Democrats who supported Gillum. We had high hopes. We BELIEVED he was the man for the moment.

    But my friend seems willing to blame Gillum’s fall on society; my view is Gillum made very poor choices that caught up with him.

    Andrew Gillum’s judgment is the problem. The Hamilton episode was a prime example. In only an alternate universe does a high profile politician not recognize a conflict of interest, and Hamilton presented just that. But Gillum seems to be someone who thinks he can do questionable things and get away with them.

    There’s a pattern here. Gillum chose to take a trip all the way to Miami and then allow someone else to rent a room for him under their name in order to cover up the fact that he very evidently is a closeted bisexual man who indulges in illicit drugs.

    And he got caught.

    Gillum can get treatment for his addictions, but there’s no treatment for poor judgment and being a deceptive person. How can the public ever believe or trust in him again? Everything he presented to us is now in question.

    Yes, its unfortunate that he let down his family and followers. I hope he finds the peace he needs, but Florida Democrats have to turn the page on Gillum.

    Florida Democrats are in the political wilderness at this moment. This is a broken party with leaders who do not inspire passion or confidence. Gillum’s fall, though unfortunate, presents an opportunity for others to step up.

    • GLady2020

      June 12, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Andrew made bad choices, yes they hurt him and his family the most. However, what I have seen in past and present politicians he fits in well with them. Now he just needs to be true to himself. He can get up and do something positive in politics. Don’t count him out. What we have is no better, they just haven’t gotten caught/or held accountable.

  • Andrew Gillum

    June 11, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    What a horrible article, that guy is a drug abusing, gay sex having, scammer who was caught by project veritas having his campaign leaders lie to the public. Please retract this crap of an article you’re trying to pass off as “journalism” you’re just as much a bum as him, do us all a favor and quit while your behind.

  • Sonja H Mccoy

    June 11, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    We have all made mistakes. Mistakes that have hurt our family and those who trust us. It is unfortunate we live in a society that is so judgmental. Where it is in your best interest to keep your sexuality a private matter. Certainly this man has mountains to climb is relates to being who he is. Certainly he could have been a voice and this time. Yet it may not be the voice we needed to hear I cannot judge anyone. I do not understand what goes on in everyone’s mind. I can only hope that he learns from this experience. I can only hope that we all learn from this. Honestly I hope his family is kept together I hope all of us did wish to pass judgment realize he was only human and yes he made some poor decisions. Honestly he will not be the last one to err God be with him and his family

  • John

    June 11, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Gillum is to busy partying with gay male escorts and doing meth. He is very busy no time for politics!

  • Frank

    June 11, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Meth is a helluva drug! 😂

  • Ricky Bobby

    June 11, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Gillum, Maddox and the crew. Tallahassee can really pick them. Good example of why we don’t need career politicians

  • Jimmyjames

    June 11, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Maybe he can hook up with Charlie Crist and have a kinda Ebony and Ivory situation…

  • GheyzLuvPoo

    June 12, 2020 at 3:06 am

    So, little ‘Androol’, ‘lil’ Andy Anal’, ‘Pansey Andy’…
    Is he saying that he was living on the “dark side” as a practicing member of the El Homosexualies of Amerika Club until he found an actual, physical real WOOman, had some keeds… but I suppose this unfortunate No Tell Motel slip up somehow got out of control! Hahahahaha…

  • JJ

    June 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    What a pack of hypocritical synchophants who have commented here. Gillum is not unique, just unlucky. In the meantime we witness the oval office occupied by serial liar and sexual predator who has a string of unsavory women and escorts littering his past personal history. During his Studio 54 days he frequently was spotted in a bathroom stall doing spoonfuls of cocaine with the trick of the moment, including a few very passable drag queens. He is a documented liar, philanderer, tax cheat, money launderer, scam artist and perverted child molester. He has knowingly employed illegal immigrants, manufactured his product line in Chinese factories, cheated his own employees out of owed paychecks, paid for mistress abortions, bribed city officials, endangered the well being of his hotel customers and flagrantly abused the justice system. All that and more yet whiny little zombies will line up to vote for him again. Use double standards much. Gillum is a sainted knight compared to Satan’s son in the oval.

    • Bart

      June 12, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      Prove it! all you trump haters have these grand theories but you can’t produce any proof. Gilly girl got caught with pictures of his dumb ass naked and afraid.

  • Pierre

    June 12, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    It is refreshing that someone who, like Gillum, is an imperfect human being offers an insight that is positive and eschews the politics of destruction. As you attest, Sir, life is hard, tough and, often, unforgiving of personal foibles. The trick is to learn from one’s setbacks and apply the lessons to a life well lived.
    May s/he who has never made mistakes cast the first aspersion!

  • A3dog

    June 12, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    But it wasn’t his time his time to shine Cops walked in They cought him doing Booty Bumps smoke was Cumming out this Mofos Booty Hole. He was to busy shining Meat hammers

  • A3dog

    June 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    But it wasn’t his time his time to shine Cops walked in They cought him doing Booty Bumps smoke was Cumming out this Mofos stink Hole. He was to busy shining Meat hammers

  • Samuel Joseph Marcum

    June 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    This may be the best satirical piece I’ve read in years.


  • Ready

    June 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    The Devils of the world have got their tenticles wrapped around the crooked and sinful world of politics in every way. I believe no one in politics or pursuing a career in politics means the people any good at all. GOD just come burn this mother flicker up. We not gonna do right.

    • Fred Lipson

      June 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      Thank God Gillum wasn’t elected. The right person for the job was elected

  • Brett D Rinker

    June 12, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    If my father had not died, he would be alive.
    You do not commit Fraud (presenting yourself as a politician to be trusted while being caught with a dead male prostitute) you might be elected.
    Michelle didn’t have a dick she/he COULD have been First Lady instead of America’s first Queen.

  • Party on Garth!

    June 14, 2020 at 9:08 am

    He methed up with his pants down.

    • Party on Garth!

      June 14, 2020 at 5:41 pm


  • Sheldon brown

    June 15, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Sheesh, sure shooting from his corner. Allegedly a male escort? Guys been pretty damn open about being an escort. You do everything (you and the rest of the mainstream medea…) to rob Andrew of culpability in his own decisions. I’m a former heroin/meth addict with a mountain of reasons to want to stick a needle back into my arm, but at the end of the day I am ultimately the one responsible for my choices. His time to shine? He was also stung by undercover FBI taking bribes, not to mention his shady office space. Ita a good thing I never expect the media to give the whole (or even factually accurate…) picture anymore. I’d live in a sea of disappointment.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn