Andrew Gillum Becomes First African-American To Win Nomination For Governor of Florida


Andrew Gillum, photo via  Vox

Andrew Gillum, photo via Vox

Andrew Gillum took home the Democratic nomination for Florida governor last night after edging out his opponent Gwen Graham with 34 percent of the vote.

photo via  AP

photo via AP

In a year that has been largely defined by a political anarchy of sorts, 2018 midterm primaries have brought many surprisingly progressive victories, most notably seen in New York when 28-year-old Latina Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat out the district's 14-year incumbent. Andrew Gillum shocked the country on Tuesday night when he became the first African-American nominee for Florida, which is a major presidential battleground state. 

The Bernie Sanders-backed 39-year old Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum did not shy away from Democratic socialist policies on the campaign trial, calling for raising the minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, ending the death penalty, the abolishment of ICE, and the impeachment of Trump. His Republican opponent Ron DeSantis is on the opposite side of the spectrum, enjoying support and praise from Donald Trump and a call to get tough on crime.

Gillum's campaign message championed a grassroots movement and protecting the working class. In his victory speech, Gillum stated, 

“I want you to know that this thing is not about me. This race is about every single one of us. Those of us inside this room. Those outside of this room. Those who voted for me. Those who didn’t vote at all. And those who didn’t vote for me because they are Republicans. But I want to be their governor, too.”


Gillum's victory also shows that black candidates are having great success in unsuspected states - just look at Ben Jealous' upset victory in Maryland and Rep. Stacey Abram's win in Georgia. Even though the primary wins are surely encouraging, the true test will be November's midterm elections, in which Democrats may have a chance to take back the House and Senate. For Gillum, the battle will be tough - Florida hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1994.   

Kayla PasacretaComment