Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is headed for a state-wide showdown against Ron DeSantis for the Florida governorship, after pulling out a win in the Democratic primary featuring Congresswoman Gwen Graham (who was considered the early front-runner), former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene and Orlando businessman Chris King.
Levine spent nearly $28.5 million in Florida’s media markets pushing his campaign. Jeff Greene, who entered the race late, spent more than $34.5 million. The two big-spenders’ ads may actually have turned the race around for Gillum, who along with Chris King spent much of the time trailing in the race. Although Levine generated a lot of buzz among black voters, his campaign largely ignored the Central Florida black community, spending a mere $3,000 with black media, out of a total $9,142,712.34 spent. Jeff Greene spent slightly more than $4200 with Orlando-area black media, out of a total $509,973.12 advertising budget.
Gillum is now one step closer to making Florida history by becoming the state’s first black governor. He’ll have to defeat Ron DeSantis, though, a three-term Republican congressman backed by President Donald Trump.
While Gillum took only 34% of the Democratic votes cast, Republican primary voters overwhelmingly supported DeSantis to oust Adam Putnam. He’ll need the support of the Democrats who lost– and the voters who supported them– to pull off the win in November.
Graham gave him hers. She took to Twitter after her loss to lend her support to Gillum, who will need to parlay the endorsement he received from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and other progressives across the country into much needed support by blacks at the polls.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (Dem-SC) has warned all black candidates not to take the black press for granted if they want to win in the general election. His message: ignore the black press, ignore the black vote.