Andrew Gillum (Florida Governor)
Gillum may be the biggest surprise for Democrats in 2018
Andrew Gillum can make history as the first black Governor in Florida after one of the biggest Primary Election upsets of 2018. Gillum captured the Democratic nomination in late August despite being outspent by a significant margin (Gillum was the only non-millionaire in the field for either political party) and now faces Donald Trump's chosen candidate, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Most political prognosticators consider the Florida Governor's race to be a toss up; prior election results back up these predictions (see chart).
The 39-year-old Gillum is the current Mayor of Tallahassee and is the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission (he was 23 at the time). Born in Miami and raised in Gainsville, Gillum grew up in a working class family (his father was construction worker and his mother a school bus driver). He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Florida A&M University.
Gillum's Primary Election victory was due to the support of a handful of Independent Expenditure groups that leveraged existing organizations separate from the campaign.This same strategy can win again in November.
Andrew Gillum (D)
Rick DeSantis (R)
Gillum: Has raised $4.1 million (through 8/24)
DeSantis: Has raised $5.7 million (through 8/24)
TDB - will be large
TDB - will be large
Republicans have long made Florida a breeding ground for awful policy ideas, from pioneering the right for citizens to carry concealed weapons to the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law that gained national attention in the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin. It’s no mystery that Florida regularly ranks among the top 10 states in terms of violent crime. Florida Republicans have focused much of their efforts in recent years toward dismantling voting rights; defunding public education and affordable housing initiatives; and advancing policies that make sure Florida remains a low-wage state.
Florida’s state government has been under a Republican trifecta since 1998 (Republicans have had majorities in both legislative chambers and controlled the Governor’s office), but the political winds are starting to shift for Democrats. A court-ordered redrawing of district maps in 2015 put all 40 State Senate seats on the ballot in 2016; 20 of these seats are up again in 2018. The Democratic candidate won a special election in 2017 (SD-40), reducing the Republican Senate majority to 24-16. Democrats need to win 5 seats to take control of the State Senate, but at the very least, Republicans must be prevented from gaining a supermajority and the ability to override a veto from the Governor (the GOP gains a supermajority with a three-seat pickup).
Florida has sided with the eventual Presidential winner in every election since 2000, with margins of victory between 1 and 5 percent. Donald Trump won Florida with a 112,000-vote advantage of the 9.5 million votes cast. Republicans hold a 16-11 advantage in Florida’s Congressional delegation; the state is expected to gain at least 2 more Congressional seats after the next round of redistricting.