Andrew Gillum threw down the progressive populist gauntlet Tuesday evening in Orlando, reminding an audience that he’s the only non-millionaire Democrat in the Governor’s race and contending he’s the only one who can convince “people in the gap” to turn out to vote.
Appearing at an organization kick-off rally held at The Abbey, a popular Democratic watering hole in downtown Orlando, Gillum discerned himself as the only non-millionaire among major Democratic candidates including former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and Winter Park businessman Chris King. He then chipped at their commitments to progressive Democratic ideals. He mocked Levine as someone who can “just write checks” to fund a campaign, and Graham for having a “famous family.”
“What is at stake are the people in the gap, the people who lose when we lose elections,” Gillum said.
In the end, Gillum charged, his Democratic rivals are not the kind of candidates who can inspire the large numbers of disillusioned Democratic voters to turn out to vote.
“They are not join got turn out for nothin’. They are not going to turn out if the Democrat is not discernible from the Republican,” Gillum said.
And the only way to do that, he added, is to convince voters that they and their concerns will go to Tallahassee with the candidate.
All the while Gillum painted himself as the fighter from the tough neighborhood who believes it’s important to try to help bring everyone from the neighborhood with him.
He pushed hard on issues beginning with standard Democratic positions on gun law reforms, environmental protection, public education funding and wages, then dove deeper, urging not just rights restorations for felons but abolishing hiring practices that prevent felons from ever getting second-chance jobs, pushing to ban jobs discrimination against gay employees, urging criminal justice reform, and demanding the state “treat health care like the right it is.”
“When you elect me you are going to have a partner but more importantly you are going to have a fighter,” he said.