At this point Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is counting on it not taking much – maybe 20-something, 30 percent – to win the August 28 Democratic primary for governor and he is counting on inspiring a midnight-blue wave of progressive Democrats and people of color to make him the party’s nominee this fall.
Gillum, in Orlando Tuesday afternoon to meet with airport workers struggling with low wages and benefits, is steadily taking meetings with unions, workers, minority groups, and progressive organizations trying to inspire a groundswell turnout while his Aug. 28 Democratic primary opponents, Jeff Greene, Philip Levine, Gwen Graham, Chris King, increasingly are saturating Florida’s airwaves with TV commercials.
Gillum said he will be up with TV commercials, which would be his first, not including the third-party, “dark money” commercials run in a couple of markets by The Collective, which Gillum has been forced to at least mildly disavow because many Democrats have been turned off by their attacks on Graham.
Yet while the other Democratic candidates have been raising far more money than his campaign and running one ad after another, they’ve been moving in the surveys, while Gillum has been largely stagnant, in most polls in the high single-digits or low teens.
That doesn’t count inspiring people to turn out to vote who otherwise wouldn’t, who don’t show up in the “likely primary voters” counts, he said during a stop at Orlando International Airport Tuesday, where he met with officials of the Service Employees International Union and a gathering of contract airport workers whom the union is working with to organize. They certainly seemed to like what he was saying Tuesday.
“We have talked about bringing all marginalized communities to the polls, particularly in these midterm elections that are not popular elections for people to vote,” Gillum said.
“We feel very confident that we are building the kind of grassroots capacity that’s going to be necessary to turn voters out to win,” Gillum added.
After all, he pointed out, it is a five-way primary. Technically, 20 percent plus one vote could win. He said he expects the winner might have around 30 percent. That essentially is what his campaign is shooting for right now.
“In a primary in this state you gotta get a plurality. And the truth is we don’t need expensive television to reach that outcome. What we need is to communicate to voters who need to know I am their choice on the ballot,” Gillum said. “For a lot of reasons, largely because of our message, and what we’re trying to communicate, and the way we are communicating it, we believe we will have what it takes to win this primary.”
Gillum also sees perhaps a little magic in the date of Aug. 28, a little historical mojo that he feels good about breaking his way. It was Aug. 28, 1963, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and it was Aug. 28, 2008 that Barack Obama accepted the nomination to run for president.
“I believe on Aug. 28 I will accept the Democratic nomination for Florida, and it will put us on the trajectory to win the election on Nov. 6,” he said.