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Backed candidate's 'monkey' comment draws fire in Florida race

30 August 2018

Only hours after their primary election victories, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis made clear the high-profile race in the nation's largest political battleground state was going to be nasty and racially charged. His Republican challenger, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, received 36.6-percent.

Tension between the two camps already broke out Wednesday, after DeSantis, 39, said on Fox News that Florida voters should not "monkey this up" by voting for Gillum's agenda. Gillum is African-American.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum faces Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott. DeSantis became the favorite in the race even though the Iraq war veteran is fairly new to Florida's political scene.

The attacks got going Wednesday with President Donald Trump tweeting that Gillum is "a failed Socialist Mayor." Former Rep. Gwen Graham, whose father, Bob Graham, served as governor, had been hoping to position herself to become the state's first female governor. He also outright endorsed Gillum. And Florida, in particular, will have a wide slate of Democratic women candidates on the ballot this fall, with 16 of 27 congressional races featuring a woman as the Democratic nominee. In this contest, at least, it was not the Year of the Democratic Woman but the insurgent-progressive uprising that won the battle of the memes.

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With 56.5-percent of the vote, Congressman Ron DeSantis has a shot at doing so.

Critics quickly slammed DeSantis's comment as racist, since his opponent is an African-American.

"I think he used the word socialist today on Twitter". "He went on a bus tour in the last week, and he reached out to communities that don't usually hear from candidates".

Gillum's Democratic opponents in the governor's race largely refrained from going negative on the mayor for fear of alienating Gillum's progressive, diverse base.

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Putnam had always been considered the favorite to win the GOP primary with state party backing and big donations from the biggest corporate entities in the state, including supermarket chain Publix, U.S. Sugar, Florida Power & Light and Disney. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and UCF and in Tampa.

Gillum did well in debates, often receiving the most applause, but the FBI is investigating Tallahassee city hall for corruption.

"We had a candidate that spoke everybody's message". He said it was the only reason he voted for DeSantis.

Overall, Gillum's speech honed in on a cornerstone of his campaign - his promise to fill the needs of "everyday" people.

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Gillum's campaign declined to comment, referring reporters to the Fl0rida Democratic Party chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, who called DeSantis' comments "disgusting". We're proving, that if progressives come together, we can win.

She added that Gillum would appear on the network that afternoon.

Andrew Gillum talks with a supporter after speaking to voters and public school teachers at a rally in Miami Gardens in August.

- Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 29, 2018Day ONE of Gillum v DeSantis Florida Governor race and DeSantis tells voters not to "monkey this up" by electing @AndrewGillum.

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"The bottom line is that teachers are making less than they did in 2000".

Backed candidate's 'monkey' comment draws fire in Florida race