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Trump candidate, Democrat underdog to vie for Florida governor’s seat

30 August 2018

Not even an early-morning insult from Donald Trump could wipe the smile from Andrew Gillum's face as he embraced his first full day as the newly elected and rather unexpected Democratic party candidate for Florida governor.

Reaction was swift, with Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo releasing a statement, saying, "it's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles".

The DeSantis campaign clarified that his comments were directed at Gillum's policies, not the candidate himself.

Some observers saw DeSantis' use of the term "monkey this up" as a racist insult.

Less than 12 hours after Andrew Gillum's primary win, Ron DeSantis referred to him as "articulate" and said Florida shouldn't "monkey up" the state. "To characterize it as anything else is absurd".

Gillum also immediately responded to a tweet by President Trump calling Gillum a "failed socialist mayor", telling Trump the country and state need "decency, hope, and leadership" and asking the president to tag Gillum the next time he tweets about him so Gillum can see it.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, the newly christened Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida, said Wednesday that voters would "monkey this up" if they elect his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, who would be the state's first African-American governor. "This is not what Florida wants or needs!" the commander-in-chief tweeted Wednesday morning. But Gillum still has room to grow: The turnout rate in Miami-Dade, a crucial Democratic area, was the highest in at least a decade - higher than the 2016 primary, and Gillum was not very well known in that part of the state before last night and faced a more crowded primary than DeSantis.

On the Republican side, DeSantis, a USA congressman from the Jacksonville area, stomped Adam Putnam, a former congressman and current Commissioner of Agriculture in Florida, with more than 56 percent of the vote.

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Ron DeSantis won the Florida Republican gubernatorial nomination with a campaign that highlighted his lockstep support for Trump as a member of the U.S. House and constantly reminded voters that: "Ron DeSantis is fully endorsed by President Donald Trump!".

"He's much too liberal for Florida", DeSantis said.

The latest RGA email states the Medicare-for-all proposal that Gillum supports would cost American taxpayers $32 trillion but does not mention that Americans will pay more than that amount to private insurance companies in that same time period, for example.

Gillum's winning the Democratic nomination, on the other hand, came as a surprise.

Following Tuesday's primary, the two parties are looking to their most fervent supporters - progressive Democrats and Republican conservatives - for victory in the November 6 election. The fifth-generation Floridian then went on to serve five years in Congress representing the Central Florida-based 12th congressional district. However, lobbyist Adam Corey, who appears to be at the center of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was a longtime Gillum friend and ally until Gillum cut ties with him previous year, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. For months, the Tallahassee mayor was trailing Florida political dynasty candidate, former Rep. Gwen Graham - whose father was a beloved senator and also governor of the state - as well as a number of wealthy and self-funding challengers.

"Let's build off the success we've had on Governor Scott", DeSantis said.

Florida's U.S. Senate race has drawn national attention as Democrats attempt to take back the Senate.

Trump candidate, Democrat underdog to vie for Florida governor’s seat