Andrew Gillum, in an unprecedented upset, became the Democratic Party’s nominee to become Florida’s governor on Tuesday. He won against opponents who had been in politics longer, were better known, and were better funded. His competitors included billionaire Jeff Greene, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. Graham was a high contender for the role, as she attempted to become Florida’s first ever female governor, as well as follow in the footsteps of her father, a former governor and senator of Florida.
The votes between Gillum and Graham were very close, with Gillum winning 34.2 percent of votes and Graham winning 31.4 percent, according to a report by the New York Times. Gillum had not been leading in any polls prior to the race, so his win against centrist Graham came as even more of a surprise.
Gillum was a favorite among progressive Democrats and he had earned the support of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and political groups Our Revolution, and Democracy for America. The winner of the Republican Party’s nominee for Florida’s governor was Florida Representative Ron DeSantis, whose victory was also an upset. He blew his opponent, Adam Putnam, out of the water, winning 56.5 percent of the vote to Putnam’s 36.6 percent.
Congratulations to @AndrewGillum on his victory. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding real change and showed our nation what is possible when we stand together. Let's make history this November and make Andrew Gillum the next Governor of Florida.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 29, 2018
The two winners of Florida’s primaries for governor show a deep political divide in Florida, and perhaps the country, as Gillum represents the values of the far left, while DeSantis represents that of the far right.
“Tonight, we proved what’s possible when people come together & show up to build FL into a better state for all. I’m truly honored to represent people across the state as the Democratic nominee — and I promise to stand up for everyday Floridians and the issues that matter most,” Gillum tweeted after his victory.
If Gillum wins the gubernatorial race, he will become the state of Florida’s first African-American governor. Additionally, he is the second black Democratic gubernatorial nominee this year in the South, alongside Georgia’s Stacey Abrams. He is also the first black gubernatorial candidate in Florida’s history.
Gillum’s victory is also notable due to the fact that he spent only a modest $6.5 million on his gubernatorial campaign, in comparison to the $38 million spent by Greene and $29 million by Levine.
Other winners of the Florida Primaries include:
- U.S. Senate
- Democratic Party – Bill Nelson
- Republican Party – Rick Scott
- Attorney General
- Democratic Party – Sean Shaw
- Republican Party – Ashley Moody
- Agriculture Commissioner
- Democratic Party – Nikki Fried
- Republican Party – Matt Caldwell