Andrew Gillum, a Democratic politician who has followed a path in public service from being an activist in college to becoming mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., has set his sights on the state’s Governor’s office and if he wins, he would be the first African-American in the seat.
Gillum, 37, who announced his candidacy for the 2018 race through a YouTube video on Wednesday, would replace the term-limited Republican Rick Scott and would be the first Democrat in the Florida Governor’s mansion since 1999.
“If you look back over the time I’ve spent as mayor,” he said in the video, “you’ll see that I have leaned into the challenges, embraced disruptive technologies. I’ve tried to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem here that allows anybody with a dream and a vision and the will to get it done to create the business of their own future and their own desire…”
In a visit to EBONY offices in January, Gillum, who had not yet made the announcement, vaguely hinted that he might make the run.
“There was a petition at the start that tried to get me to run for governor, and I have responded to them by appreciating them for the thought and admitting that I am considering what 2018 looks like. I have a lot of considerations that have to be made,” he said at the time.
Gillum, who had been an activist in his days at Florida A&M University, was elected to the Tallahassee City Commission at the age of 23, the youngest ever to hold the office. He was elected mayor of the city in 2014 and has been involved in a political push-pull over gun rights versus citizen safety that has resulted in an organization called the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions.
But he is also seen as one to watch among Democrats. He gave an address at the party’s 2016 convention, and his name was floated early as a potential for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential picks, according to a list released by Wikileaks.
Gillum’s campaign contribution website is up and running, though no political platforms or campaign mission statements have been posted there yet.
Several others are reportedly considering joining him in the gubernatorial race including Rep. Gwen Graham, Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn, and Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, according to the Palm Beach Post.