Florida Gubernatorial Candidates DeSantis, Gillum Trade Barbs

Former Vice President Joe Biden gestures as Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum left and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson D-Fla. right look on during a campaign rally for Gillum and Nelson on Monday in Tampa Fla

The topline numbers for the gubernatorial race show a statistical tie, with Republican Ron DeSantis leading Democrat Andrew Gillum 48-45 percent.

"He wants you to believe that he's not under investigation", he said.

Democratic consultant Steve Schale, though, thinks Gillum is winning and the debate didn't hand DeSantis the game-changing moment he needed.

In one of the most powerful moments of the night, Gillum confronted DeSantis, a former USA representative, over the bigoted tenor his campaign had taken on in the weeks since the Trump-backed Republican told voters not to "monkey this up" by voting for his black opponent.

"Under mayor Gillum's leadership, Tallahassee is the most crime-ridden city in the entire state of Florida", DeSantis said. And last night, Gillum called him out for it.

During the October 22 CNN debate between the two governor candidates, DeSantis said of Gillum, "Andrew is a failed mayor". Gillum previously claimed that he received the gift from his brother. What Gillum didn't know was that the person offering the ticket was an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. "As the fifth of seven kids to my mother and father and the first to graduate from high school, I learned early you don't take anything for free, and you certainly don't take anything for granted, that your word is your bond".

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"These messages only confirm what we have said all along", Gillum claimed. Gillum accused DeSantis of dishonesty, pointing to a PolitiFact analysis that the Republican candidate had made 21 false statements during a previous debate.

"I want to know who's doing that", DeSantis said.

On Tuesday afternoon Chris Kise, an attorney for former city lobbyist Adam Corey, released more than 100 pages of records that were subpoenaed by the Florida Commission on Ethics.

In fact, the text messages show, Gillum was aware that it was a contractor who provided the tickets.

Gillum's campaign pushed back on Tuesday against any implication that he had misled the public, saying that his brother, the previously named source of the ticket, was part of the "crew" cited in the text.

Before Gillum took the stage, Democratic Congress members Ted Deutch of West Boca and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, both Jewish, spoke in his defense, in glowing terms laced with Yiddish and Hebrew.

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Gillum has said he and his wife paid cash for the May 2016 Costa Rica accommodations, a contention refuted in the newly released emails.

As for his own dealings, Gillum said he understood that his brother gave Corey and Miller tickets to see Jay-Z and Beyonce, which he believed "solved whatever the issue was with regard to the expenses associated with it".

"Awesome news about Hamilton", Gillum replied.

Wilcox said elected officials are allowed to accept gifts from family, but not lobbyists.

Gillum promised not to put anyone on a university board of trustees who supports boycotting Israel and, having promised to keep to "the 5 B's of public speaking - be brief, brother, be brief", ended with a call to get out and vote. "He said, 'Ron DeSantis is a great leader, a proud veteran, a tough, brilliant cookie who would make a great governor of Florida".

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