Florida's culture clash pits Gillum against Trump voters

Ron DeSantis

Gillum promptly fired back, quoting Trump and suggesting the President hadn't been courageous enough to mention him by name: "When you lie about me from the most powerful office in the world", Gillum wrote, "and still don't have the courage to @ me". "He will hurt us; he will physically hurt us with his socialist mentality".

Neither the activist base of the state's Democratic Party nor Trump-supporting Republicans, however, are numerous enough to win the governor's race.

Gillum trashed Trump again and again.

Among registered voters, as opposed to likely, Nelson had a 4 point lead, and Gillum a 10 point lead.

As early voting begins in Florida this week, that link is tenuous. "We have a president who has put his own selfish interest ahead of the country", Biden said.

"I think there's something different about this election", Biden told the crowd.

Young people and minorities are traditionally among the least reliable voters, particularly in midterm elections.

WUSF has extended a similar invitation for an interview with Ron DeSantis.

This was one of Gillum's first campaign events after a hiatus while his city recovered from Hurricane Michael, and he was happy to talk about it.

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Representative DeSantis has benefited from Trump's occasional backing on social media, including after the debate.

Gillum hold another rally in Tampa on Monday when he visits the University of South Florida with Joe Biden and Sen.

"I feel all the energy in the world", Gillum said.

"I'm the only candidate (for governor) who can credibly say he's not under investigation by the FBI", he added, referring to an investigation of Tallahassee city government. I've been black all my life.

Meanwhile, a small, but significant portion of the state's Republican base remains consumed by recovery efforts nearly two weeks after hurricane Michael devastated the Panhandle.

In the poll's sample of registered voters, the mix of Democrats and Republicans surveyed nearly exactly matches the numbers reported by Florida's Secretary of State: 38% report being registered as Democrats, 35% as Republicans and 27% are registered with no party affiliation or as members of another party.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has been embroiled in a tense fight against rival Ron DeSantis in the Florida governor's race.

Seventeen people died at the hands of a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th in Parkland, Fla.

With early voting starting on Monday in Florida, the debate was the last major chance for the candidates to make their cases before Floridians hit the polls, possibly to flip the gubernatorial seat to a Democrat for the first time in nearly 20 years.

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DeSantis has run as a "law and order" candidate and on Sunday night he repeatedly hit Gillum on crime in Tallahassee. NAACP President Derrick Johnson said his organization is "microfocused" on boosting black turnout this fall. Both describe themselves as pro-Israel: On his site, Gillum says "I believe strongly in the unique relationship between the United States and Israel" and that he "will continue to push back against anti-Israel efforts, like BDS".

"I am not looking for cheers, I want you to do something beyond cheers", Biden said.

DeSantis also did a good job of sticking Gillum's with his support from the Far-Left and their plans to impeach President Trump.

He also dismissed Parkland students' calls for stronger efforts to reduce gun violence when asked about his opposition to modest gun control measures passed by Florida's Republican-led legislature in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

DeSantis defended his past comment that he would have vetoed a measure signed earlier this year by current Gov. Rick Scott (R) that raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm in the state.

Meanwhile, a flood of money is shaping the Florida elections.

WUSF's Steve Newborn caught up with Gillum before his appearance.

Biden said President Trump's actions at home and overseas didn't reflect basic American values of decency.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox. "And that shouldn't be too much to ask in the state of Florida", he said.

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