Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday setting him up to become Florida’s first African-American governor.
Gillum’s primary win was seen as a shocking upset among liberal groups, overcoming his Democratic challengers, particularly former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who was seen as the favorite to win.
“The job of the governor of the state of Florida is to do what is in the best interest of the people of the state of Florida,” Gillum said on Tuesday night, according to CNN. “I look forward to being that governor because I know that beneath my name is also a desire by the majority of people in this state to see real criminal justice reform take hold in the state of Florida.”
Throughout the race, Gillum was outspent by his opponents, but due to increase support from young voter and African-Americans, he was able to clinch his party’s nomination, per the Miami Herald.
The 39-year-old mayor was supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for Gillum earlier this month, and is seen as a progressive because of his commitment to social justice issues, battling the National Rifle Association and support for single-payer health care referred to as “Medicare-for-all.”
President Donald Trump said that Gillum was a “failed socialist mayor” on Tuesday night and showed support for Congressman Ron DeSantis, who won the Republican primary in the race.
“I didn’t talk a whole bunch about Trump as I moved around the state,” Gillum told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday night. “We all know that the President is uniquely unqualified for the position that he holds. He is dangerous to himself and to the country, in my opinion.”
Gillum’s win on Tuesday highlights a major year for Black candidates running for political office across the country, notable in gubernatorial races, according to the New York Times.
Stacey Abrams is vying to become Georgia’s first Black female governor and Ben Jealous, former president of the N.A.A.C.P., clinched the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.