Gillum concedes to DeSantis in racially charged Florida campaign that followed Trump’s playbook

Democrat Andrew Gillum has conceded his hotly contested race for governor in Florida to Republican Ron DeSantis.

In a close race that mirrored the Senate contest between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, DeSantis built up a razor thin lead of just under 1 percent of more than eight million votes cast.

From the start of the campaign, race seemed a constant subtext. In an interview with DeSantis following his win in the primary, the former Florida Representative warned voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum, who was attempting to become the state’s first African-American governor.

7 PHOTOS
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Election Day
See Gallery
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Election Day
Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Mayor Andrew Gillum takes questions from the media while his wife and children look on after casting their ballots at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church Precinct in Tallahassee, Fla., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Octavio Jones /Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Tampa Bay Times Florida Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum, right, votes at Good Shepherd Catholic Church Precinct in Tallahassee, Fla., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Octavio Jones /Tampa Bay Times via AP)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, holds his children Jackson, right, and Caroline as he fills oout his ballot while voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum is running against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum casts his ballot as his wife R. Jai Gillum, second from right, and his son Jackson, lower left, looks on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum is running against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, holding his son Davis, smiles as he talks to supporters after voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum is running against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, left, reads his ballot while voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum is running against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Florida gubernatorial Democratic candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum takes questions from the press while his wife R. Jai Gillum, and their three children look on after casting their ballots at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church Precinct in Tallahassee, Florida on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. (Octavio Jones/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

During the candidates’ second debate in October, Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, decried DeSantis’ support from far right activists.

“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist,” Gillum said.

DeSantis, who billed himself as a carbon copy of President Trump and enjoyed multiple visits to the state from the president, portrayed Gillum as out of the mainstream of American politics on issues ranging from healthcare to immigration, and accused him of being the subject of a corruption investigation by the FBI.

“I’m relieved to say that of the two of us, I’m the only one who can credibly say I’m not under investigation by the FBI,” DeSantis said of Gillum at an October rally in Coral Springs.

10 PHOTOS
Florida governor Ron DeSantis
See Gallery
Florida governor Ron DeSantis
US Representative Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, and candidate for Florida Governor, speaks during a rally with US President Donald Trump at Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Representative Ron DeSantis, a Republican from Florida, right, talks to Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, before a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The hearing is part of some Republican lawmakers' push to impeach International Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen for allegedly failing to cooperate with an investigation after the IRS reportedly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
UNITED STATES - May 16: Ron DeSantis (R) Florida is interviewed at Roll Call in Washington, D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) speaks at the National Oversight and Government Reform Committee on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Capitol Hill on November 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 14: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is interviewed by a TV news crew outside of the House chamber as Congress prepares to vote on defunding President Obama's executive actions on immigration on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference at the House Triangle to oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act, also called the internet tax, which would require online retailers to collect a sales tax at the time of a purchase. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Republican Florida governor candidate Ron DeSantis during a Make America Great Again Rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Republican Florida governor candidate Ron DeSantis speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump stands during a Make America Great Again Rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) speaks during an event hosted by the Zionist Organization of America on Capitol Hill on May 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Trump went so far as to call Gillum a “thief” who was “not equipped” to be Florida’s governor.

But Gillum, a stanch progressive, drew support from high profile liberals like former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and California Sen. Kamala Harris, all of whom campaigned in the state at Gillum’s side.

DeSantis, who stepped down from his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to campaign against Gillum, now heads to Tallahassee.

_____

Read more from Yahoo News:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.