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To Chants Of 'Bring It Home,' Gillum Accepts Democratic Nomination For Governor

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum's bus is parked on Kleman Plaza as he prepares for a statewide tour ahead of the August 28th primary. (8/20/18)
Robbie Gaffney

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has gone from the mayor of Florida’s capital city, to his party’s pick for the Governor’s mansion. He is poised to become the state’s first black governor, and the first Democrat in office in 20 years.

On election night, Gillum talked education, the environment, and livable minimum wage to an electrified crowd. Hugs, chants and cheers echoed throughout his watch party, where many couldn’t believe he pulled an upset win over former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. By the end of the night, it was all decided.

“As the mayor of Florida’s capital city, I humbly accept the Democratic nomination,” Gillum said to screaming applause.

The candidate has touted himself as the only non-millionaire in the Democratic race. And Gillum attributed the win to his campaign’s ground game that garnered grassroots support.

“The places where we had no volunteer organization, people began to self-organize and volunteer,” Gillum said. “We’re in this place because of the everyday people of this state.”

Jamie Graves is one of the Floridians who’s been in Gillum’s corner since he announced his candidacy. She was an intern with his campaign through much of 2017.

“We organized, and we got our grassroots campaign going. And so many people turned out and voted for him – we made history tonight,” Graves said following the watch party. “That’s what happened, we made history tonight.”

Now that his win is solidified, Gillum says he wants to be governor for all, even those who didn’t vote for him.

“As I have said as I’ve moved all across the state of Florida. This thing is not about me,” Gillum said. “It never has been, and it never will be. This race is about every single last one of us. Right?”

He will face Ron DeSantis, the Republican Congressman backed by President Donald Trump, in the general election.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.