Republican Referring To African-American Opponent, Says Don't "Monkey Up"

Lynette PayneAug 30, 2018

On Tuesday night, they celebrated Gillum's win as they have previous primary victories this year by African-American gubernatorial contenders - including Maryland's Ben Jealous and Georgia's Stacey Abrams - by hailing the emergence of what Democracy for America executive director Charles Chamberlain describes as "the New American Majority of people of color and progressive white voters (who) are ready to deliver transformative results for candidates who share their commitment to bold, inclusive populism".

"With one tweet, that kind of put me on the map", DeSantis said.

Gillum continued: "I actually believe that Florida and its rich diversity are going to be looking for a governor who is going to bring us together, not divide us".

GOP nominee for #FLGov Ron DeSantis just said Florida shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum.

"I heard 'articulate, ' 'performs well, '" Mr. Steele said about other word choices.

Florida Republican nominee DeSantis thanked President Donald Trump for his landslide win. 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.

If he wins the November 6 election, he would be the first black governor in the country's most populous swing state.

Fox News addressed the remark a few hours later.

They sent us a statement, saying, "Ron DeSantis was obviously thinking about Floridians not making the wrong decision on policies, on the policies that Gillum espouses".

Facing off in the Democratic gubernatorial primary were former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, billionaire Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King.

In an interview with The Associated Press he added: "I think the Florida electorate is going to reject the politics of division".

While both parties saw record turnout, with more than 1.4 million Democrats voting and nearly 1.6 million Republicans, nearly 27 percent of registered voters in Florida are independent.

"It's sort of the like the Florida guy versus the Fox guy, and we're going to see if that's sufficient anymore", Tallahassee-based Republican strategist Rick Wilson told the Chicago Tribune.

On other issues, Gillum was much further to the left than the rivals he defeated, and more in line with the progressive fringes of the Democratic party now coming to the fore.

Gillum's surprise victory for the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida sets up a race between a young, black progressive with an aspirational working-class message and DeSantis, a Republican who has staked his political career on his ties to President Trump.

Gillum said, "DeSantis can do the bidding of big business and big lobbyists and Donald Trump and his divisive rhetoric".

Florida's Democratic party leaders were swift to condemn the remark. She moved to the right - backing away from a bill to protect Dreamers, embracing the border wall, and labeling outlets "fake news" - but still hasn't said if she voted for Trump in 2016.

More than 3.5 million people voted out of 13 million registered voters in the state for a turnout rate of 27 per cent, the highest for a non-presidential Florida primary since 2002. Gillum is mayor of the city of Tallahassee and Trump said Gillum has "allowed crime and many other problems to flourish in the city". In the state's 9th Congressional District, Steve Ferrara, the former Navy chief medical officer, won the GOP nomination to face Greg Stanton, Phoenix's Democratic former mayor.

Gillum didn't make race an issue in the primary.

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