Andrew Gillum vs. Ron DeSantis

Cheryl Sanders
November 7, 2018

Ron DeSantis is the Governor-elect of Florida, after a hard-fought campaign based on his sterling biography and embrace of Trumpian populism.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump rallied support for DeSantis this past week in Fort Myers and Pensacola, telling voters they had a choice "between greatness and gridlock".

In almost every way, DeSantis did not win by running a campaign by the book. His candidacy was seen as a boost for the more vulnerable Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, all of whom campaigned in the state at Gillum's side.

On the eve of Election Day, Gillum is enjoying a single-digit lead over DeSantis, who has trailed his Democratic opponent im polls for most of the year. In the weeks leading up to the election, numerous polls had projected Nelson as the likely victor, though the race was competitive leading into Election Day.

From the environment to crime to race relations, Gillum kept the people of Florida first and never went below the belt. The two-term governor, who also survived a Democratic-driven recall election in 2012 after ending collective bargaining for public workers, briefly ran for president in 2016.

"I worked as hard as I could and left everything on the field", DeSantis told the crowd. "He can gobble up a whole issue in one briefing, and when I saw that on my second day, I thought, 'This is a whole different kind of thing'". But the left propelled Gillum to victory in the primary. In fact, during his victory speech that night in Orlando, one of his first remarks was, "Thank you, Mr. President".

DeSantis tried to connect with working-class families by pointing out in campaign ads that his first job paid $6 an hour and that he later traded in his work boots for military boots, highlighting his service in Iraq.

Gillum took the risky step early in his campaign of unveiling a plan to add $1 billion in education funding - by raising the corporate tax rate.

The losses tempered big Democratic victories in governor races in two states, MI and Kansas, that voted for Republican President Donald Trump in 2016, bolstering the party's hopes of recapturing those states in the 2020 presidential election.

DeSantis on Tuesday night pledged to keep Florida's taxes low and protect its environment by standing up for clean water, stopping red tide and restoring the Everglades. Nonetheless, it still wasn't enough for Gillum to win the state. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it. DeSantis loudly objected to suggestions he was in cahoots with far-right figures or that his ties, unwitting he said, to white supremacists should be held against him. He was a member of the House for a number of years and indeed a member of the leadership considered one of the most promising young politicians in the state. "Republicans had a very strong candidate Adam Putnam, who is in the primary against DeSantis..."

"Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. Let's bring this home", he said, echoing Gillum's campaign refrain.

"Debates have their "gotcha" moments back and forth..."

Gillum's campaign also battled headaches over an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible corruption in Tallahassee during his administration.

DeSantis will take office on January 8, 2019.

Other reports by iNewsToday