Andrew Gillum wins Florida Democratic primary in bid to become state's first black governor

andrew gillum wins florida democratic primary in bid to become states first black governor

Andrew Gillum pulled off an upset victory Tuesday night in Florida’s Democratic primary in a bid to become the state’s first African-American governor.

Gillum, the progressive mayor of Tallahassee who had been endorsed in the race by Sen. Bernie Sanders, narrowly defeated former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, the Associated Press reported. Polls showed him surging late in the race, and his victory shocked most political observers in Florida who assumed it was Graham’s to lose. In part, that was because Graham is the daughter of Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator.

Andrew Gillum, holding son Davis, celebrates winning the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday night in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo: Colin Hackley/Tampa Bay Times via Zuma Wire)

Gillum quickly set his sights on what should prove to be a difficult general election battle.

“Those of us who voted for me, those who did not vote at all, those who couldn’t vote for me because they may be Republicans…” Gillum said at a victory party. “But you want to know something? I want to be their governor, too.”

But for the moment, progressive politicians like Sanders paused to celebrate Gillum’s accomplishment.

In the general election, Gillum will now face Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose endorsement by President Trump catapulted his candidacy past Florida agriculture commissioner and former Rep. Adam Putnam.

Trump celebrated DeSantis’s victory on Twitter.

DeSantis has portrayed himself in a campaign ad as holding identical views to Trump on issues like building a wall on the border with Mexico.

Gillum and DeSantis are vying to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a state that narrowly went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Scott won a race of his own Tuesday night: the GOP nomination for the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Florida.

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