Almost immediately after Adam Smith, the political editor of the Tampa Bay Times, wrote on June 16, 2017 that Mayor Andrew Gillum was the Democratic party’s front-runner in the race for governor, this lofty assessment came crashing down.
Days after Mr. Smith’s column, Peter Schorsch, an influential state political blogger, wrote that Smith’s “claim is made without regard to any polling numbers and with, as the story notes, a series of out-of-the-gate problems; a “Mostly False” PolitiFact finding, an email scandal, an open criminal investigation and elections complaints.”
On June 22, 2017, after federal subpoenas were delivered to the city of Tallahassee, Matt Dixon of Politico, reported that a Democratic consultant supporting Gillum’s campaign said “unfortunately, I think he has to drop out.”
And on June 25, 2017 Mr. Smith – one week after declaring Gillum the front-runner – chose Gillum as the “loser of the week” in a political column based on the FBI investigation.
This was followed by the resignation of Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign manager Phillip Thompson and deputy campaign manager and finance director Brice Barnes.
Kristen Clark, with the The Tampa Bay Times, reported that it‘s “not uncommon for political campaigns to shake up their staff from time to time, but the simultaneous loss of Thompson and Barnes — who was in charge of raising money for the campaign — is striking and comes at a critical juncture.”
In addition, as of June 30th, reports provided online by Forward Florida – Gillum’s PAC – shows the group has raised $25,000 since April 30, 2017 and spent over $160,000 during the same period.
The original working plan proffered by political pundits was that Gillum – based on his progressive appeal and early fundraising prowess – could make a good showing in the primary and if he could not catch lightening in a bottle, then he would at least be on the short list for lieutenant governor.
However, what seemed plausible 8-10 weeks ago now appears to be unobtainable.
One political consultant told TR, “for a few months Gillum controlled the campaign narrative and dominated news cycles. Those days are gone. The next six months will be dominated by things that are largely out of his control and will ultimately determine his fate.”