Former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a democratic socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, is heading to the Sunshine State to stump for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
The Gillum campaign announced on Tuesday that Sanders plans to hit Tampa and the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Friday to support the Tallahassee mayor’s bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Right now Gillum is trailing former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and billionaire Jeff Greene in the polls. Orlando businessman Chris King is also running in the primary but he is lagging behind the rest of the field. The primary will be held on August 28.
Sanders endorsed Gillum at the start of the month.
“I’m proud to endorse Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in his race for governor of Florida,” Sanders said in his endorsement. “As governor, Andrew Gillum will work to provide health-care for all through a Medicare-for-All program, raise the minimum wage to a living wage, invest in sustainable energy, improve education, make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and be welcoming to immigrants. Andrew has never backed down from a fight, including beating the NRA and standing up against xenophobic politicians. Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida — a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests.”
“It’s an honor to have Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsement in this campaign,” Gillum said. “He has been an unapologetic fighter for everyday working people standing up to the special interests. From Medicare-for-All, to a $15 minimum wage, his ideas and platform have become the Democratic Party’s north star on economic justice for those who need it most.
“As governor, I promise to get up every single day ready to fight for a state that puts working people first; that makes affordable health care a right for every Floridian; and a state that is powered by its people,” Gillum continued. “I’m proud to have his support.”
While Sanders drew crowds when he campaigned in Florida back in 2016, former U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton blew him out in the Sunshine State. Clinton took 64 percent while Sanders pulled 33 percent.
Sanders has left the door open to running for president again in 2020.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.