Andrew Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, as well as the state’s Democratic candidate for governor, found himself involved in another hectic schedule on Thursday, but it wasn’t due to campaign stops or any high profile meetings. Instead, Gillum put his campaign on hold as he helped the communities in the Florida panhandle that were ravaged by Hurricane Michael, cleaning up and clearing debris. There is even video of Gillum wielding a chainsaw in an effort to clear a street covered by fallen trees, according to reports by Business Insider.
Gillum is currently locked in one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the nation, running neck-and-neck with Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. If Gillum were to win come November, he would become Florida’s first black governor as well as the first Democrat in the position in 20 years.
Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, leaving massive devastation to the towns and cities along the Gulf of Mexico. Michael has caused at least six deaths in Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia.
As Michael was approaching, Gillum was a common sight on television, as he urged everyone in the evacuation zones to take the storm seriously and to make their best efforts to get to higher ground.
— Lawrence Mower (@lmower3) October 11, 2018
Gillum’s not alone in his efforts, as DeSantis has also been using his rallies in Tampa and Jacksonville during the week as an opportunity to raise money for hurricane relief in the panhandle. DeSantis echoed the same warnings as his opponent, making clear that Michael wasn’t simply a storm that one could wait out.
Despite all of the warnings given, roughly 320,000 people decided to remain at their homes located in the path of the storm. Search-and-rescue operations are currently being undertaken in order to locate missing residents.
Gillum has found himself the target of attacks from DeSantis on the issue of hurricanes. It relates to Hurricane Hermine, which hit Tallahassee when Gillum was mayor in 2016. In the hurricane’s aftermath, it took the city three days to restore power to 90 percent of its residents.
The DeSantis campaign has been running several advertisements about his actions during Hermine and using it as an opportunity to attack Gillum’s leadership ability. The DeSantis campaign did say that those advertisements would be pulled from television on Wednesday when Michael makes landfall.
Gillum was particularly troubled by the campaign ad, calling it a “low-blow” political attack.