Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee and current Democratic candidate for governor in Florida, and his wife, R. Jai, made a Facebook Live video on Thursday to announce his running mate. In a surprise turn of events, the Gillum’s invited Chris and Kristen King and introduced Chris as the next lieutenant governor of Florida.
Gillum’s choice came as a twist because King himself had also run for Florida’s governor in the Democratic primaries, but had only come in fifth place. However, Gillum and King had developed a friendship during the long year of campaigning for the governorship, and their friendly feelings were cemented after King defended Gillum when questioned about the FBI’s probe into political corruption in Tallahassee, reported The Tallahassee Democrat.
In the video, R. Jai talks about how when Gillum proposed to her, he did not simply ask her to marry him, he asked her to become his partner. So when Gillum was looking for a running mate, he was looking for a partner, which he found in King because of their similarities in values and what they hold important.
“I want to change the way Florida looks and feels,” said King, “I want four years to shoot for the stars. I want this to be a transformative period for Florida. I want to be someone people say has the DNA to do big things. To me, that’s the only way the sacrifice of this makes sense.”
King’s religion is important to him and is a guiding force in his life. But he explains how his brand of Christianity is different from those in the alt-right.
“What we have seen across the country at Homestead and other places is an example of how the religious right and the conservative Christian community in this country has twisted the issues that are of most important to people and to caring about people,” King said.
When King was running for governor, he ran as Christian Progressive interested in stimulating the economy. Important aspects of his personal campaign outside of economic development included expanding health care access, fighting discrimination against LGBTQ+ residents in the state of Florida, and correcting the housing crisis. He has a degree in religion from Harvard as well as a law degree from the University of Florida and has been a successful businessman in Orlando.
Gillum and King will run against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis and his pick for lieutenant governor, Miami Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, in the election this November.