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Gov. Candidate Andrew Gillum: Democratic Candidates Should Embrace Their Progressive Beliefs

Kevin Meerschaert

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for Florida Governor Andrew Gillum said his life and elected experience makes him the most qualified candidate running for the position.

Appearing Thursday on WJCT’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Gillum talked about his being raised in a working class background.

He was the first of his family to graduate high school and college and said it shows that generational poverty can be interrupted through a strong public education.

Gillum has championed the more progressive wing of the party, calling for a $15 minimum wage, a strong public school system, universal healthcare and paying more attention to the dangers of climate change in Florida.

When asked if he had any reservations that people may not vote for him in the primary because they don’t think he can win in November, Gillum said the party needs to embrace its roots.

“I believe we’ve been losing the race for Governor because our voters have said when they have the choice between a real Republican and fake one, they vote for the real one every time,” he said. “My belief around how we win is that we say who we are, we stand up for what we believe in.”

Gillum is one of four major Democrats in the race. The others are former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Elevation Financial Group CEO Chris King.

The Florida State Primary is Aug. 28.          

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.        

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.