Despite hopes that he might pull off a narrow victory, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum lost his gubernatorial bid against Republican Ron DeSantis. He would have been the first black governor of Florida and the first Democrat to govern the state in 20 years.
Gillum vision of Florida’s future was in stark contrast to DeSantis, a racist Trump disciple who doesn’t believe healthcare is a right, supports open carry on college campuses, and called for a ban on sanctuary cities despite Florida having none. Gillum supports Medicare for All and backs gun reform and has an F-rating from the National Rifle Association. Gillum also ran on increasing teacher salaries and improving Florida’s education system with an additional $1 billion in education spending, and proposed legislation that would protect Floridians access to no-cost contraceptive care under Obamacare.
Gillum was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, President Obama, and—most importantly—Rihanna.
DeSantis’ campaign against Gillum was racist from the jump: the day after Gillum won the primary, DeSantis went on Fox News to warn Floridians not to “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum and his “socialist” agenda. It was also revealed during the campaign that DeSantis attended conferences organized by racists and that DeSantis refused to return a financial contribution made to his campaign by a man who called Obama “Muslim nigger.” DeSantis also has the support of a white supremacist and anti-Semitic website which that launched racist robocalls throughout Florida.
When DeSantis denied accusations of racism during a televised debate in October, Gillum said, “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
In his concession speech on Tuesday night, Gillum called on the people of Florida to keep working to change their state, pointing to a major win on Amendment 4 as an example of what’s possible when people turn out for the fight. “I still plan to be on the front lines alongside every single one of you,” he said. “As I said all along the campaign trail, power cedes nothing without a demand. It never has and never will. We still have to be willing to show up every single day and demand our seat at the table.”