He barely lost last month’s emotional, supercharged Florida gubernatorial campaign, but Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum might be staring at a serious silver lining: the 40 year old first-ever Black nominee for the state’s governor is now being touted as a potential vice presidential pick in 2020.
But many political watchers say Gillum is also viable as a presidential candidate in 2020 himself, when Democrats will elect a nominee to run against President Donald Trump, who is grappling with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s growing investigation and an impending Democratic party takeover of the House next month.
Gillum lost the election by just .036 percent of the vote, or about 32,000 votes out of more than 8 million ballots cast. Gillum is also credited with a spike in Black voter participation that helped a number of other candidates statewide and even helped Democrats win normally Republican Duval county.
Many political analysts point out that had people with felony convictions, who typically vote Democrat, been allowed to cast ballots in 2018, Gillum would have won; Florida voters passed Amendment 4 last month, which restores voting rights to non-violent felons beginning next month.
Florida is expected to once again become a battleground state in 2020, and Democrats will need someone on their presidential ticket who would, importantly, also appeal to Black voters, who have long been the party’s rarely acknowledged base, while simultaneously exciting progressive White voters: Gillum was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Many political analysts believe Gillum–who is a formidable campaigner and dynamic public speaker–fits the bill.
Ironically, Gillum’s 2018 opponent, Republican and now Gov.-elect Ron Desantis, accused Gillum of corruption because of an FBI investigation into the goings-on inside Tallahassee City Hall. But an indictment released this week failed to implicate Gillum, essentially clearing him of wrongdoing.
Many political analysts believe the constant accusations of corruption costed Gillum much-needed support from certain voters.