Andrew Gillum’s Surprise Win in Florida Is a Huge Deal

The liberal Democrat would also be the state’s first-ever black governor.

Monica Herndon/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA Wire

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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is one step closer to being the first African American governor in Florida history. Although the Democrat, a favorite of progressives, trailed by double digits for much of the race and never led a single poll, he rode a late surge to edge out Rep. Gwen Graham in Tuesday’s primary.

Gillum will face Trump-loving Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis in what is shaping up to be one of this fall’s marquee races. Only two African Americans have ever won a gubernatorial election, but Gillum, along with fellow Democrats Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Ben Jealous of Maryland, have a chance this year to change that.

In a purple state carried by Trump, Gillum ran an unabashedly liberal campaign, calling for Medicare-for-all and a $15 minimum wage, while touting his legal fight against gun lobbyists. He won the campaign in the final weeks with messages like this:

For more on Gillum’s campaign and how he pulled it off, check out Darren Sands’ recent profile in Buzzfeed News.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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