Democratic Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum says he spent only 7 percent of what his defeated primary opponents did
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won Tuesday's Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary in a surprising, narrow victory over former congresswoman Gwen Graham, businessman Jeff Greene, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
His opponents were favored to win not only because they were seen as more moderate candidates, but also because the sheer size of their war chests made Gillum's path to victory look like a long-shot. The new nominee told MSNBC on Wednesday how pleased he was that he managed to pull ahead despite being the "underdog" of the race.
"It feels real good," he said. "My four opponents combined may have spent close to $90 million, to our [$6 million]."
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked Gillum how he had pulled off such a "shock" to the political world, and Gillum explained that he had focused on issues affecting "everyday Floridians" rather than on labels to define his place on the political spectrum. Gillum told CNN that he ran his campaign like "Seabiscuit," traveling all over the state to make up for a lack of funding to buy major TV ad spots. "People didn't think we had a chance, but we did," he said. He told New Day that he was striving to give Floridians "something to vote for, and not just against."
Gillum will face Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) for the governor's seat, after DeSantis handily won the GOP primary Tuesday. DeSantis has criticized the mayor for his platform, which includes replacing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and introducing Medicare-for-all. Watch the full MSNBC interview with Gillum below, and read more about Gillum's upset victory here at The Week. Summer Meza
Florida voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections that will provide the latest test of President Trump's influence with Republicans. Trump endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in a race to pick the party's nominee to replace Republican Gov. Rick Scott. DeSantis got into the race in January shortly after Trump tweeted he would make "a GREAT governor," vaulting into contention against the early favorite, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
On the Democratic side, former Rep. Gwen Graham is facing four challengers in her bid to become Florida's first woman governor. Scott is expected to win the GOP primary to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Voters also go to the polls in Arizona, where Republicans are holding a contentious primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake (R). In Oklahoma's gubernatorial primary, Republicans Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt are facing each other in a runoff. Harold Maass
Another round of primaries begins Tuesday in five states, including a tight race for the Democratic gubernatorial ticket in Nevada, which has not had a liberal governor since 1999. In North Dakota, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer faces off against Thomas O'Neill for the chance to take on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in November's nail-biter race, while South Carolina will see a Republican scuffle in its 4th District, where 13 candidates are attempting to run for retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy's (R) seat.
In Virginia, there are several more crowded races: Three Republicans are vying to take on incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D), while six Democrats are fighting for the chance to unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).
Maine will be a particularly interesting state to watch, as it is launching its new "ranked choice," or "instant runoff," voting method today. The system, which redistributes a last-place candidate's votes if no one receives the majority of first-place votes in the initial round, will determine the primary races for Gov. Paul LePage's (R) seat, and Maine voters will also be deciding whether to use the new voting system in future elections. Jeva Lange
Tuesday will mark the biggest day of the 2018 primary season so far as elections for Senate, House, and governors' seats kick off in four states, FiveThirtyEight reports. The closely watched races in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina will narrow the field ahead of November's elections, when Democrats hope a blue wave will wrest control of Congress from the remaining defending Republicans.
One particularly thorny race will take place between three Republicans battling to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia. President Trump won the state with 68 percent of the vote, although Don Blankenship, recently released from jail after violating safety standards that resulted in a deadly mining accident, could throw a wrench in the potentially easy pick-up for Republicans. On Monday, Trump tweeted in favor of Blankenship's Republican foes: "Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!"
In Indiana there are a number of interesting races, including six Democrats running in the 2nd Congressional District, the appearance of Vice President Mike Pence's brother in the GOP race for the 6th Congressional District, and another promising pick-up opportunity for the Republican who comes out on top in the primary to take on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).
In Ohio, the race for Gov. John Kasich's (R) vacated seat is the one to watch, with both parties seeing hard-fought battles to become the official nominee. In the Democratic race, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is leading, with an endorsement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), while former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has received the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Our Revolution.
Finally, in North Carolina, where there are a handful of congressional races, the 9th District is the "more interesting on the Republican side," FiveThirtyEight writes, with pastor Mark Harris facing Rep. Robert Pittenger in a rematch of a 2016 election he lost by just 134 votes. Read more about all the races, and what to expect tomorrow, at FiveThirtyEight. Jeva Lange