The Mood In Florida: Post-Primary Dem Poll Shows Gillum Ahead Of DeSantis In Governor’s Race

Written by Dana Sanchez


On Tuesday night, Scherazade King and her family were at home eating dinner, doing homework, watching live coverage of the Florida primaries on the internet, and whooping and hollering. They did the happy dance when Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination for governor against much better-funded opponents in a stunning primary victory.

King’s phone buzzed off the hook Wednesday with text messages from all the people that she said had blown her off when she repeatedly asked them to give money to the Andrew Gillum for Governor campaign.

Her response? “Thanks for your vote, now we need your money. I’ll be in touch.”

In May, King co-hosted a house-party fundraiser for Gillum with a friend, Carrie Comer, in South Beach, Miami. She plans to host another one in the run-up to the November election — “if I could possibly get on Gillum’s calendar,” she said.

Andrew Gillum and his wife, R. Jai Gillum addresses his supporters after Andrew Gillum won the Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum defeated former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and four other candidates. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)


Gillum, a Democrat, is ahead of Republican-nominated Rep. Ron DeSantis by 5 points in the Florida governor’s race, according to the first poll released publicly since the state’s primary elections on Tuesday, The Hill reported.

But King has no illusions that bringing it home for Gillum is going to be easy.

Backed by President Donald Trump, DeSantis won 913,954 votes Tuesday in the Florida primaries (56 percent). Gillum, who was backed by Bernie Sanders, got 517,833 votes (34 percent), Vox reported.

“Democrats are really going to have to do a lot to turn out voters for Gillum given the national megaphone DeSantis will benefit from to stir up more Republican voters,” King told Moguldom.

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on allegations of misconduct against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


Barron Channer, a real estate developer and Gillum campaign supporter, described to Moguldom the mood in Miami Wednesday as one of excitement:

“One candidate takes orders from Trump and is intent on robbing opportunity from those they do not know or like. The other candidate … takes his orders from the common man and is convinced that we are all better when everyone has the opportunity to be and do better. Race, creed, economic background and orientation should not be a filter for opportunity, nor limit the fullness of one’s dignity.”

Gillum scored a shocking upset victory over former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.) on Tuesday, putting him on track to become the first Black governor in Florida’s history.

Trump tweeted, “Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!”

Gillum’s win on Tuesday is “a signal to all who want to be proud of America again,” Channer said:

“Our ideals have not died because of one election. The people will always have the power when they use it. Electing Andrew Gillum will be a demand (for a) state that is truly great for the benefit of all instead of merely being great in the minds of few at the expense of the rest of us.”

A rising leader in Miami’s real estate industry, Channer was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Florida with his family as a child.

He credits his success in part to a healthy level of confidence that he said is “almost endemic to Jamaican culture.” That confidence gave Channer the guts to choose Wharton School over Harvard Business School when it was time to pick a business school for his master’s degree.

“Gillum’s nomination is a validation,” Channer added. “This richly diverse and highly immigrant state is one that does not embrace racism, sexism or classism as de-facto realities or things to cement in law and policy. Andrew Gillum is an embodiment of this rebuke. Voters made it clear that they want someone who can boldly and eloquently champion the best of our state.”

King described her first meeting with Gillum in a Moguldom column:

“We talked about my kids, the optimism I felt when I moved to Florida, the promise for business and entrepreneurial ventures, and the racism I have felt here more than any other place I’ve lived.”

By Wednesday, King’s Tuesday-night euphoria had been replaced by a sense of urgency:

“We have a little over a month to wake up and get everyone registered by Oct. 9,” she said.