Andrew Gillum wins Florida Democratic primary in bid to become state's first black governor

Andrew Gillum pulled off an upset victory Tuesday night in Florida’s Democratic primary in a bid to become the state’s first African-American governor.

Gillum, the progressive mayor of Tallahassee who had been endorsed in the race by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., narrowly defeated former U.S. Rep Gwen Graham, the Associated Press reported. Polls showed him surging late in the race, and his victory shocked most political observers in Florida who assumed it was Graham’s to lose.

Graham is the daughter of Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator.

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Andrew Gillum, Democratic nominee for Florida governor
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Andrew Gillum, Democratic nominee for Florida governor
Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum speaks at a Florida League of Cities Gubernatorial Candidates Forum in Hollywood, Florida, U.S. August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Candidate Andrew Gillum who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, speaks to voters on a tour of barbershops in Sarasota, Florida, U.S., July 18, 2018. Picture taken July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Letitia Stein
Candidate Andrew Gillum who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, speaks to voters on a tour of barbershops in Sarasota, Florida, U.S., July 18, 2018. Picture taken on July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Letitia Stein
Candidate Andrew Gillum watches a video, which shows his rise from the son of a bus driver, to the mayor of Florida's capital city, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for state governor, during a campaign visit to a barbershop in Sarasota, Florida, U.S., July 18, 2018. Picture taken July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Letitia Stein
Candidate Andrew Gillum who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, speaks to voters on a tour of barbershops in Sarasota, Florida, U.S., July 18, 2018. Picture taken July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Letitia Stein
Tallahassee, Florida Mayor, Andrew D. Gillum addresses the audience at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Tallahassee, Florida Mayor, Andrew D. Gillum addresses the audience at he Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
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Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida — a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests,” Sanders said in his endorsement of Gillum, lauding his support for Medicare for All and willingness to take on the NRA.  

In the general election, Gillum will now face Rep. Ron DeSantis, whose endorsement by President Trump catapulted his candidacy past easily defeated Florida Agriculture Commissioner and former Rep. Adam Putnam.

Trump celebrated DeSantis’ victory on Twitter.

DeSantis has portrayed himself in a campaign ad as holding identical views to Trump on issues like building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Gillum and DeSantis are vying to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a state that narrowly went for Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. Scott won a race of his own Tuesday night: the GOP nomination for the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Florida.

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