By Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida
ST. PETERSBURG — Clad in her trademark “uniform” of combat boots and cut-off shorts at Star Booty in downtown St. Petersburg, cosmetologist Cassandra Bradshaw boasts that she not only voted for Andrew Gillum but recruited more than two dozen pals to cast ballots for the surprise victor of the Democratic primary for governor.
Bradshaw, a 29-year-old whose workplace is as much a hair salon as it is a hub for hipsters, said the left-leaning Tallahassee mayor sparked an excitement that Florida Democratic candidates have lacked in the decade since she and her millennial cohorts began voting.
“I’m sick of centrist Democrats. I want an actual progressive who’s actually going to do things to help me and the people who sit in my chair,” Bradshaw said in a recent interview.
Bradshaw and her friends are exactly the kind of progressive voters Democrats are banking on to show up in November and support Gillum and running mate Chris King, a one-time Gillum opponent who finished in fifth place in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.
The two men and their young families — they’re both 39 and each have three young children — present a fresh take on politics for voters like Bradshaw who are eager to move a Democrat back into the governor’s mansion after being shut out for two decades.
The Democratic duo are in a matchup against a similarly youthful Republican ticket comprised of U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who’s been endorsed by President Donald Trump, and Jeanette Nuñez, a popular Miami-Dade County state legislator.
DeSantis and his GOP supporters wasted no time in launching what are certain to be relentless attacks on Gillum, focusing on an FBI corruption probe that’s been covered in depth by the mayor’s hometown paper, the Tallahassee Democrat. The federal investigation involves three undercover FBI agents — including one who posed as a developer and another who was a purported marijuana industry representative — who, among other things, traveled to New York with Gillum as part of their effort to unravel potential wrongdoing by city officials.
Gillum, a former student government leader at Florida A&M University who served on the Tallahassee City Commission before being elected mayor in 2014, has steadfastly maintained that he is not the subject of the federal inquiry and that he has cooperated with investigators, turning over thousands of pages of documents.
But Gillum, who’s hoping to make history as the state’s first black governor, has been linked to the FBI investigation thanks to his ties to Adam Corey, a former friend who once served as Gillum’s campaign treasurer. According to the Tallahassee newspaper, Corey, a lobbyist and entrepreneur, has been named in at least three subpoenas related to the public corruption probe. Corey’s $2.1 million loan in local tax money to renovate the Tallahassee-based Edison Restaurant is part of the FBI probe.
“He (Gillum) is embroiled in a lot of corruption scandals,” DeSantis told Fox News after cruising to victory in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. “This guy can’t even run the city of Tallahassee. There is no way Florida voters can trust him with the entire state.”
But, unlike DeSantis, Bradshaw isn’t bothered by the FBI investigation.
“I think it’s also fair to say our president’s under an FBI probe, so I don’t know why the Republicans would bring something up that he can throw right back in their face,” she said.
Gillum’s team, and Democrats in general, also don’t appear worried about the mayor’s link to the corruption probe and point to DeSantis’ defense of Trump amid investigations in Washington and New York.
“You’ve got a Republican in Ron DeSantis who’s spent the last year obstructing the FBI, attacking the FBI and trying to discredit the FBI. And now he has the gall to talk about an FBI investigation that Andrew Gillum has been cooperating with and trying to help them resolve. We think the contrast here is clear. They’ll attack us on that, and we’ll go right back at it,” Scott Arceneaux, a former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party who’s a senior consultant on Gillum’s campaign, told the News Service.
Gillum’s primary campaign, with support from national groups backing black candidates and progressive politicians, laid out a strategy that relied on “black voters, brown voters, younger voters and poor voters,” the mayor told the News Service in an interview about a week before his primary win.
But, in a massive state like Florida, where nearly one-third of voters are independents, Democrats have to shift their approach to succeed in November, Arceneaux conceded.
“We’re much more focused now on a statewide strategy. We’re going to do 67 counties,” he said. “In the primary, we had a focus on the big urban areas. But we’re taking this thing statewide. Andrew’s talked about going to all the counties, whether there are voters there who voted for you or not and trying to get our message out.”
Despite being branded by DeSantis and other Republicans as “socialists,” the Gillum-King ticket will appeal to voters beyond the left-wing fringes, Democratic consultant Steve Schale said in an interview.
Gillum has called for access to affordable health care, increased spending on schools and a boost to the minimum wage — all issues that many working-class Floridians support, according to Schale, an adviser to former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, the runner-up in the Democratic primary.
“I think people who think Andrew has limited appeal to swing voters are misreading the situation,” Schale said.
The promise of the first black governor in Florida could generate excitement among minority voters, who typically have lackluster turnout in midterm elections like the one on Nov. 6, and independent voters who may distrust Trump.
“Yes, he has the ability potentially to turn out some voters who don’t necessarily turn out in a Florida midterm, but also has the message that will appeal to enough voters in the middle to help him get to a win,” Schale said.
As is always the case for Democratic candidates, political observers predict Gillum’s success depends on his ability to turn out voters.
“I don’t think it’s about convincing Democrats in the middle that it’s safe over here. I think they just feel it’s so unsafe in the other direction,” said Gary Yordon, a Tallahassee-based political consultant who worked for Gillum more than a decade ago.
For Democrats, Gillum “stimulates something visceral,” Yordon said.
“That’s the issue. You can serve up oatmeal so long. Sometimes you need steak and eggs. And I think Democrats in Florida are tired of oatmeal. I think they’re ready for something a little more dynamic,” he said.
The Gillum-King ticket also presents a shift that will resonate with Democrats tired of the same-old, same-old, as well as with new voters, said Allison Tant, a former Florida Democratic Party chairwoman.
“I do think it is an absolute tip of the hat to the youth voters, the independent voters, who want something besides traditional party-politics candidates,” she said. “This changes the face of the future for the party. We have two young candidates at the top of our ballot. This hasn’t happened in a long time. It’s very exciting to see this.”
The idea that Florida needs a “fresh take”, is complete and total B.S.
Here are a few insights into Gillum’s far-left candidacy from this morning’s FOX News article by Justin Haskins, co-founder of StoppingSocialism.com and the executive editor of The Heartland Institute:
“Gillum is a socialist-leaning Democrat who received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders. He supports far-left policies like raising taxes on businesses, imposing a single-payer health-care system in Florida, and transitioning Florida “to clean energy as rapidly as possible” by sending huge amounts of taxpayer funds to solar companies to battle climate change. Gillum also thinks carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” and he supports a slew of new regulations and mandates for gun owners.”
“The Democrats’ sharp leftward tilt in just the last few years is disturbing. Socialism is a radical, oppressive, dangerous ideology. It calls for the complete destruction of property rights and the end of many individual rights, especially religious freedom.”
If you loved obama’s America with it’s federal govt. corruption and steep deterioration in the nation’s economy, jobs, all branches of our military, race relations, border security, and general national morale, you’ll love gillum’s Florida.
Hope is exactly right if gillum’s elected: he’ll throw out every experienced, competent professional in state government that he can and replace them with his incompetent-corrupt cronies, and give himself and all of them giant raises at the taxpayer’s expense. Of course he’ll tax those useless FL corporations in the process – that will be sure to make them stay in FL and encourage more to move here.
And when the next hurricane hits and Gillum & company are totally AWOL and inept at handling even the simplest preparation, emergency management or recovery steps, Gillum will point fingers of blame at everyone besides himself and declare any criticism as “racist” attacks on him because he’s black. Hey, it worked for obama for 8 years (with the mainstream media’s fawning, eager assistance). Yep – if you loved obama’s America, you’ll love gillum’s Florida.
Would love to see someone from the media ask Gillum to outline his platform from what it is, how he will implement, and how he will finance..
So far… The media has performed its usual soft touch … Would be refreshing if we ever saw the media do their job…
Gillium was asked those questions on CNN. It was very uncomfortable to watch and listen to as Gillum looked shocked at being asked those questions and then realized he had to give an answer. Continuing the deer-in-headlights look words came out of his mouth but they did not make any sence nor did they address the questions. The CNN host had a shocked look on her face when she realized he could not answer those simple questions.
Be sure to vote Gillum if you hate yourself, The USA, Yo Mama, and everything good in life…Yeah Gillum’s your man!!!
A Gov. Gillum will make the Venezuelans who escaped realize their homeland ain’t so bad after all – and maybe they’ll go back home.*
And another thing: if Gillum couldn’t manage the recovery after Hermine, how do you think he’d do after another Irma?
These are two far left socialists. That right there says do not vote for them. The word ‘progressive’. is what the dems came up with for their unwashed minions who do not realize they are voting socialist.
just like they have hijacked “gay” to describe being homosexual. Fact is, gay means happy, and that is not a trademark of those who live the homosexual lifestyle.
On Gillum’s watch there is a sky high crime rate in fact number one in the state …Tallahassee has the highest crime rate in this state. A lot of it is around the colleges and not the students, but putting our students in Harm’s Way. Gillum cannot handle hurricane management as he failed that test during Hermine. The Consolidated Dispatch Agency which is our 9-1-1 system has failed us for years under Gillum’s watch. Then there is the FBI corruption investigation. Gillum spends more time with his Bromance friend Adam Corey voting to give Mr Corey over $1000000 for a restaurant. Their Bromance continued on to New York with FBI undercover agents attending Mets game and the play Hamilton and using Gillum’s brother as a go-between too obfuscate and create loopholes in their schemes. The city manager who Gillum helped put into position has already had to resign and the Florida ethics Commision has found probable cause with the city manager’s corruption. There have been sewage spills so when Gillum tries to play the environmental card I don’t think that’s going to play very well. The problems aren’t on the front lines or with the rank-and-file as these people are heroes and hard workers. It is the mismanagement and Corruption of the leadership. And it’s all on Gillum’s watch Tallahassee quite frankly is a mess. Bernie Sanders doesn’t seem to care about a track record honesty or integrity just look at how he derailed the Democratic party’s Democratic candidate. The Democrats lost the presidency because of Bernie Sanders so go ahead Bernie talk Gillum up. If Gillum is voted in they will fire good people on the rank-and-file lines to build up mismanagement in leadership roles with huge raises to themselves so they can take more trips and box seats to sports events and so on… that will create a Statewide mess rather than just a Tallahassee mess. That’s what they did in Tallahassee they fired rank-and-file workers and then the city management put in all their friends and gave themselves huge raises. Gillum and other leaders take trips to Las Vegas Chicago New York Costa Rica rather than tend to the citizens who they took an oath to protect and serve. That is what it is like in Tallahassee, it is a big mess and let’s vote smart so we don’t have a Statewide mess.
Too bad they don’t have breathalyzers on keyboards…
Really, Todd? So refute it.
Introduce mzz, Bradshaw to Venezuela. She needs to ‘be woke’.