Florida governor’s race — the candidates
Andrew Gillum (D)
Gillum has a progressive pitch for voters — he has supported “Medicare for All,” though he recently conceded that within the state, he advocates Medicaid expansion as a way to provide health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of poorer Floridians. The GOP-led legislature has already indicated it would vote against this.
The sitting Tallahassee mayor also advocates raising corporate taxes to 7.75 percent — a hike of 2.25 percent — in order to raise a billion dollars for the purpose of raising teacher salaries and investing in other educational programs.
Throughout the campaign, he has been fending off accusations of corruption related to an FBI investigation into a multimillion-dollar project tied to a lobbyist friend. Gillum’s campaign has denied any connection to the probe, but Republicans seized on it during the campaign. Weeks before Election Day, records released by a friend of Gillum showed that he had accepted Broadway tickets to “Hamilton” from an undercover FBI agent. Gillum acknowledged receiving the ticket but said it had been given to him by his brother, who, he believed, had traded them for concert tickets.
If he wins, he’ll be the state’s first black governor.
Ron DeSantis (R)
DeSantis is a Yale- and Harvard-trained former prosecutor who hails from Jacksonville, Florida. He’s currently serving his fourth term as the 6th District congressman, and he was formerly a JAG lawyer in the Navy and served at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq. He is still a Navy reservist.
DeSantis is one of Florida’s most conservative members of Congress, considered to be a hardliner on immigration and gun rights. He has said that if he were governor, he would have vetoed a bill that Gov. Scott signed weeks after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting that raised the age limit to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 and also implemented a three-day waiting period for rifle purchases.
On immigration, DeSantis has opposed DACA and so-called “sanctuary cities,” and he has also advocated for Kate’s Law, which would enact harsher penalties on undocumented immigrants who cross the border illegally after they’re deported.
He’s also a prominent supporter of President Trump, voting with him 94 percent of the time. In Congress he has proposed defunding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and he has floated impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to be special counsel. During the campaign, DeSantis attracted attention with a campaign ad showcasing his devotion to Mr. Trump. He helps his daughter build a wall out of blocks and reads Mr. Trump’s “Art of the Deal” to his son.
He has also had to defend himself against accusations of racial divisiveness. On the night he won the GOP primary, DeSantis attracted wide criticism for telling Fox News that voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by electing Gillum. His campaign denied the comment was a racist remark, but the anchor who interviewed him later said on air that “we do not condone this language.”
DeSantis has also been criticized for speeches he gave at events set up by controversial conservative David Horowitz, who has in the past said that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he lost the Iraq War purposely and that the Palestinians are Nazis.