Democrat Andrew Gillum may be the next governor of Florida, and not in the obvious “he’s one of two options” type of way, but in the “he’s held the lead against his Republican opponent since winning the Democratic primary” kind of way.
A recent poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy shows the Florida gubernatorial race is in a dead heat with Gillum garnering 45 percent of the support to Republican Ron DeSantis’ 44 percent out of 815 likely voters, according to Orlando Sentinel.
Gillum’s upset victory over U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in August was seen as part of a progressive wave from candidates willing to go toe-to-toe with the National Rifle Association, support social justice issues and who advocates for single-payer healthcare.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, Gillum said that he’s “consistently…hearing people concerned about health care” in the more conservative sections of Florida, which shows that Republican voters may be willing to give the Tallahassee mayor a shot.
“We’re a state that did not expand Medicaid for 800,000 of the most medically needy people,” he added.
Florida political insiders predicted this week that Gillum will defeat DeSantis in November, despite his heavy liberal views in a state that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and voted for Gov. Rick Scott in the last two state gubernatorial elections (Florida voters did support President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012).
“Although Gillum is much too liberal to win any Florida statewide election in the past 30 years, he is well on his way to winning this one,” an insider told The Tampa Bay Times. “DeSantis’ general election campaign has been a disaster. Nelson is showing signs of life. Gillum has the Democratic based even more fired up than they were when they were just mad at Trump – and even more importantly, Gillum is attracting huge sums of money from deep-pocket out of state progressive donors.”
Gillum is looking to become the first African-American to serve as Florida’s governor and the first Democrat to hold the position since Buddy MacKay in 2001.