In the Arena: Gillum’s Past and Future?

In the Arena:  Gillum’s Past and Future?

Andrew Gillum is an ambitious person.  He ran to be the Chair of the Florida Democratic Party but lost to Ron Smith of Alachua County.  He wanted to run for Congress, but Al Lawson declared for the position so he did not run.  Lawson won the seat.

Mr. Gillum decided to run for Governor.  He won the Democratic primary and narrowly lost the general election to Ron DeSantis.

Mr. Gillum is an orator.  He can temporarily inspire people while making his remarks.  An orator is impressive, but an organizer is more to my liking.  Despite winning the nomination, I believe Mr. Gillum has feet of clay which will prevent him from moving forward in the future.

Many ambitious persons would rather continue an unnecessary fight rather than admit an error or back off a mistake. 

Mr. Gillum, first as City Commissioner and later as Mayor, entered into a protracted fight with Dr. Erwin Jackson.  Whether you personally like Dr. Jackson, the Doctor is a generous person.  Recently, Dr. Jackson gave one million dollars of his money to FSU to support brain research. 

Mr. Gillum may have been able to end this fight if he had been willing to either privately or publicly meet with Dr. Jackson with the goal of solving the problem.  Mr. Gillum was not so willing.  The FBI investigation of City Hall was a result of this failure to heal the rift.

Another flaw of Mr. Gillum’s is pulling up before the race ends.  When one thinks, while the race is still ongoing, that the race is won that is a major blunder.  You fight to the end and you do not stop before the final bell rings.

Before the general election most of the polls were showing Mr. Gillum ahead by three points.  One of his senior advisers stated publicly before election day that they could not be defeated.

Mr. Gillum did lose and as a long-time political campaign manager it was solely his own fault.  It is time to look at facts.

Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Gillum both created political committees to support their effort to be elected Governor.

Mr. DeSantis’ committee, called Friends of Ron DeSantis, reported as of December 31st (nearly two months after election day) that it raised $41,001,515 and spent $40,973,140.  This left $28,375 cash on hand or not even 1/10th of one percent of what was raised.

Now, pay attention and compare Mr. DeSantis’ effort to Mr. Gillum’s below.

Mr. Gillum’s committee, called Forward Florida, reported as of December 31st (nearly two months after the election) that it raised $38,399,274 and spent $34,492.856.  This left $3,906,418 cash on hand as of January 1st or 10.2% of the money raised for the election was not spent on the election.

How does one explain keeping back $3.9 million dollars?  Every dollar should have been spent on the election but it was not.  Why not?  Every reader of this column probably has a good idea why not.

Now let’s look at how Mr. Gillum did in Leon County compared to other Democratic gubernatorial candidates.  Mr. Gillum received 63.3% of the vote in Leon County.

By comparison Alex Sink in 2010 got 66.5%.  Bill McBride got 64.6% in 2002.  Lawton Chiles received 69.3% in 1990 and 63.4% in 1994.  Mr. Gillum did gain a larger majority in Leon County then anyone before, while Mr. DeSantis received the largest number of votes in Leon County by a Republican gubernatorial candidate than ever before.

Mr. Gillum did not tend his home base the way he could have and should have.

Statewide Mr. Gillum lost being Governor by just 4/10ths of a point.  Charlie Crist lost by 1% in 2014 and Alex Sink lost by 1.2% in 2010.

When you lose by 4/10th of a point you have to realize that holding back 3.9 million was incredibly stupid.  Now you might enjoy spending the cash by rewarding a few friends with lucrative contracts.

Where does Mr. Gillum go from here.  I would suggest the history of previous Democratic gubernatorial losers give a clue.  Outside of Charlie Crist all retired from seeking public office.  Mr. Gillum is the youngest loser so he might attempt a rebound.  Unless of course, Dr. Jackson has something to say about it.

On to a self-disclosure.  I donated $100 to Mr. Gillum in September 2017 when he was severely lagging in the polls.  I gave it because he handled the second of three hurricanes in a row much better than the first hurricane.  I thought he was educable.  I gave a second $100 in September 2018.  I took steps to heal the breach between us, he did not because he can not do it.  This is a fatal flaw.

The next column will address the future of Scott Maddox.


Jon M. Ausman is the longest serving member of the Democratic National Committee in Florida’s history (December 1992 to January 2017).  He can be reached at or at 850-321-7799.

17 Responses to "In the Arena: Gillum’s Past and Future?"

  1. Just did a word search for the entire page and didn’t see “Soros” or his avatar “Senator Palpatine” mentioned anywhere even though he was a YUGE contributor/supporter/behind the scenes arm-twister; past, present and future. Huh…

  2. I’ve lived in Tallahassee my entire life, other than a stint in college and 2 years in another state (so, over 50 years). It’s amazing to me to see the “good ‘ol boy” network is still up and running at the administrative level in both City and County governments, despite the fact that the stereotypical “good ‘ol boy” is no longer around. Politics has become an end-game rather than a service, a way to benefit financially rather than offer a particular expertise to the people, despite a personal sacrifice. Career politicians, such as Gillum and Maddox, are so far out in the weeds when it comes to understanding their constituents that they couldn’t begin to fathom how the actual world works. They both understand, however, that greasing a palm or two results in the same being returned tenfold. They surround themselves with syncophants and minions who will literally rather fall on their own swords, so to speak, than to open their eyes to the obvious. Maybe all politicians do the same, and it’s simply the way of the world. It’s a laugh when it happens somewhere else; it’s a tragedy when it hits close to home. Many of us who know Scott Maddox, whose kids spent many sleepovers at their home, birthday parties, parties, etc., scratched our heads when the issue of residency came up. We looked at each other with cocked eyebrows and silently wondered how he could so blatantly bend the truth when questioned UNDER OATH. Someone should have stepped up, and that someone should have been me. Or you. Or any of us who knew better. Until each of us makes that personal decision to get involved and be willing to take the heat, like Erwin Jackson, I’m afraid this type of behavior will continue.

  3. Let’s be honest, gillum lost because he was a lying corrupt PIECE OF SHIT ass clown. Just like every other dumbocrap candidate he jumped up and tried playing the race card against Governor Desantis. And believe it or not a lot of people are sick and tired of that bullshit being thrown out there every time they start losing an election. Then the FBI investigation was going on, and whether he was under investigation or not all this happened while he was mayor. You’re not going to tell me that gillum didn’t know what was going on. Then there was the wannabe Mafia Boss Rick Fernandez who was taking illegal gifts from Adam Corey, and andrew told the public that he didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing. And let’s not forget about the computer software that gillum’s #1 boy Dustin Daniels purchased with taxpayer money, but gillum claims he didn’t know about that either. He chose to campaign in South Florida because he could tell those people that he was being maliciously targeted because of his skin color and nothing else. Everyone knew that he was lying about his trips to New York City and Costa Rica being strictly business, especially after the pictures popped up. Everyone should thank Dr Jackson for all his hard work in exposing this criminal activity at City Hall

  4. Yes, Mr. Gillum received a smaller percentage vote in Leon County than other Democratic candidates. But, he also received more raw votes than any other Democratic candidate before. Of course Mr. DeSantis received more raw votes than any other Republican candidate.

    My regret for being unclear where my language did not allow the raw vote numbers to be clear.

    1. Thank you for the clarification.

      Also, what was fascinating to learn from your column was that Gillum made a critical miscalculation thinking he was going to win and held back over 3 million dollars.

      This miscalculation may have hurt him more then the FBI investigation? It shows that his leadership abilities are just not there.

      Your columns are fascinating and a lot is learned from them.

      Thank you for sharing and providing this important information.

  5. Thank you , Jon, for so eloquently informing us that Gillum is unable to run a Popsicle stand.

    Also, it is very telling that Gillium perhaps held back a significant amount of campaign funds to pay for legal fees. He knows it doesn’t look good for him and he will need the expert legal advice.

    I too caught the SMALLER majority in Leon County error.

    That is twice in as many days where a prominent Democrat erred in a column as Alan Katz wrote in his op-ed to the Tallahassee Democrat that Dr Erwin Jackson is a Republican. Dr. Jackson is a Democrat and how the editor over at the TD didn’t catch that is significant in and of itself.

    This column by far is superb to Alan Katz’s column which was basically a waste of my time.

    I agree that Andrew Gillum has no political future and it will be interesting to see if he is booted Out of Harvard if and when he is indicted.

    We are looking forward to the next column on Maddox.

    1. Thanks for your comment and your patience. This is on our list as we grow. Please consider subscribing to aid us in this endeavor.

    2. And there goes the pea soup on my yoga pants, hah!!!
      Humor like this IS worth paying for,,,,,,,,,,LOL.
      And I do encourage the 3-4 of you reading this who still subscribe to the local rag to cancel your subscription there and and re-purpose those ill-intended funds to SUBSCRIBE TO TALLAHASSEE REPORTS.

  6. What the article fails to fully pursue is the fact that left over campaign funds can be easily used for personal benefit in many ways. Weak, broadly written federal laws regarding the disposition of such funds have so many loopholes that millions in campaign donations end up in the pockets of unsuccessful candidates, their family or loyal friends. In Gillum’s campaign, it appears he earmarked the left over funds for his defense attorneys fees for his upcoming state ethics case, and federal criminal charges. All he has to do now is find the right expert in how to hide his misuse the money.

    1. Correct. Somewhere near 99.9% of informed voters will assume the unused donations will end up in Barry’s pocket. And he doesn’t work cheap!

  7. Left over money… What can be done with the $3.9 million? Can it be personally used? Distributed to people? I just do not have a clue how people donate to a campaign, then what happens to the leftover money people gave for someone to win a campaign?

  8. Good column, Jon. But according to your numbers I think you meant to say Gillum had a SMALLER majority in Leon County, not larger, than anyone before him.
    While it remains to be seen if this will be Gillum’s Waterloo, the state ethics commish did find probable cause on 5 of 6 counts. This validated my assertion that the city’s version (the JV team) is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

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