Gillum gets national spotlight and donations

Money and attention is pouring in for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor. His campaign says it drew $3 million in contributions between his Tuesday night primary win and Sunday. Gillum made the rounds on national political shows over the weekend, including appearances on CNN and NBC.

Politico Florida reports that “last Wednesday alone, Gillum was mentioned so many times on TV that it gave him the commercial ad-time equivalent of $23.5 million nationally and $3.8 million in the state, his campaign estimated. And the Tallahassee mayor’s likeness was even included this weekend along with 50 black cultural and pop-star figures in the new cartoon video “Feels Like Summer” from the artist Childish Gambino.”

Some of the attention is unwanted. The Washington Post reported on disturbing racist robocalls targeting Gillum, and Gov. Scott condemned them in a tweet: “There is no room for any racial politics here in Florida — none,” the tweet said. “Florida is a melting pot of people from all over the globe, and we are proud of it. No attempts to divide people by race or ethnicity will be tolerated, from anyone. THIS. STOPS. NOW.”

The campaign spokesman for Gillum’s opponent, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis, also reacted:

“This is absolutely appalling and disgusting — and hopefully whoever is behind this has to answer for this despicable action,” Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for the DeSantis campaign, said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Our campaign has and will continue to focus solely on the issues that Floridians care about and uniting our state as we continue to build on our success.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Gillum will release receipts from trips he took to New York and Costa Rica with lobbyists who are said to be targets of an FBI probe of Tallahassee development deals. Gillum has said the FBI told him he is not a target, the FBI says the investigation is ongoing. It’s sure to be a campaign focus for Republicans, who are gearing up for their man DeSantis’ run for governor against Gillum in the general election.

Julie Hauserman
Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times, and reported for The Stuart News and the Tallahassee Democrat. She was a national commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Splendid Table . She has won many awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida , The Book of the Everglades , and Between Two Rivers . Her new book is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.

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