When Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced he was running for governor of Florida, a lot of people said he didn’t stand a chance. Well, they were wrong. He lost by a small margin and even then, there were questions of voter fraud in the state of Florida. Gillum announced last week that he will not run for president of the United States; however, as shining new star of the Democratic Party, he’s not sitting around either. He says he is launching a massive mobilization campaign to help Democrats turn Florida blue (from a red Republican state to a blue Democratic state) for the 202 race.
It certainly can be done. In the last election, Nevada went from reed to blue, electing a Democratic governor and taking down Republican Senator Dean Heller and replacing him with a Democrat who is also a woman (Jackie Rosen). According to the Huffington Post, Gillum plans to register at least a million Florida voters before the 2020 election. His supporters registered the voter outreach organization Bring It Home Florida with the state last week.
The nonprofit is named after the Democrat’s signature campaign phrase. “It requires that we get out there, and that we organize, and that we activate and that we produce a voter who is going to show up not just on Election Day, but the day after, they’re gonna be there to hold you accountable,” Gillum said while speaking at historically Black Florida Memorial University. Democrats say they have identified millions of Florida residents who are not registered to vote despite being eligible. But Gillum is optimistic about voter engagement, citing Florida’s historic move in November’s election to get rid of a Jim Crow-era policy and restore voting rights to people with felony records.
“Because we turned out and we voted like our lives depended on it, 1.4 million people now have the ability to register to vote here in the state of Florida,” Gillum said. “That is a big deal.” The voting rights measure went into effect in January, but Florida lawmakers said they need to clarify some ambiguities and want to block people with court debts from voting.
The Florida Democratic Party is also pledging to spend $2 million in the next year to register 200,000 voters ahead of the 2020 primary. Gillum also has nearly $4 million available with his political committee Forward Florida, which is also involved in his voter registration campaign. “This isn’t the sexy work. I’m sure it’s probably more fun for some of those out there running for president,” Gillum said. “This is the hard work of democracy.”