Andrew Gillum will face GOP nominee Ron DeSantis in November. Plus, other candidates who could make history in this year’s midterm elections.
A progressive Florida mayor nabbed the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a primary upset Tuesday, advancing to a race in November that could make him the state’s first black governor.
Andrew Gillum, the Bernie Sanders-endorsed mayor of Tallahassee, triumphed over front-runner and ex-congresswoman Gwen Graham. He will face conservative Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a staunch supporter of President Trump who has been endorsed by POTUS, in the midterm election this fall.
“I am overwhelmed,” Gillum, a 39-year-old father of three, told supporters at his Tallahassee victory party, according to the Miami Herald. “I want you to know that this thing is not about me. This race is about every single one of us. Those of us inside this room. Those outside of this room. Those who voted for me. Those who didn’t vote at all. And those who didn’t vote for me because they are Republicans. But I want to be their governor, too.”
Gillum also picked up support from billionaire Tom Steyer, as well as the Sanders-affiliated nonprofit Our Revolution and the progressive PAC Democracy for America. He supports policies like a corporate tax increase to fund education, a $15 minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, the abolishment of ICE and equal pay legislation.
One state over, former Georgia house minority leader Stacey Abrams — a lawyer and published romance novelist who won her gubernatorial Democratic primary in May — has the potential to make history of her own in November, vying for a shot to become the Peach State’s first black woman governor. Abrams will face Trump-backed GOP nominee Brian Kemp.
This year’s primaries have poised multiple candidates to shatter glass ceilings: Progressive Minnesota state legislator Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who won the Democratic nomination this month for the state’s 5th congressional district, would become the first Somali-American in Congress, as well as the first woman of color elected to Congress in Minnesota. (Omar and Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib would also be the first two Muslim women in Congress.) And former social studies teacher Jahana Hayes, who won the Democratic primary for Connecticut’s 5th district, would become the first black Democrat elected to Congress from Connecticut.
The LGBT community has also made strides, most recently with former energy company exec Christine Hallquist’s win in Vermont’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Hallquist, the first openly transgender major-party gubernatorial nominee, would be the first openly trans U.S. governor if elected.
With her win, Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson recently observed, “all 4 letters in LGBT acronym have won Democratic nomination to run for governor this year”: Lupe Valdez, a lesbian gubernatorial candidate in Texas; Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a gay candidate running for governor in Colorado; bisexual Oregon incumbent Gov. Kate Brown; and Hallquist in Vermont.
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