Gillum after upset win in Florida: ‘We can run wholly on our values’

Gillum after upset win in Florida: ‘We can run wholly on our values’
© Getty

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) says that his surprise victory in Tuesday's gubernatorial Democratic primary in Florida shows that left-leaning members of his party can run on their values without fear of losing voters.

In an interview with CNN's "New Day," Gillum responded to questions from host John Berman on whether his candidacy, backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Sanders denies tweet about corporate Democrats was dig at Warren Democrats asked to create ideal candidate to beat Trump pick white man: poll MORE (I-Vt.) against an establishment favorite, represented a shift to the left for the Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT

"What we are clear about is that we can run wholly on our values," Gillum says. "We can talk to people in a common-sensical way about the issues that confront them, and quite frankly it doesn't matter if you're in the rural panhandle of Florida or the I-4 corridor."

Gillum's campaign endorsed a "Medicare-For-All" public health-care plan supported by Sanders as well as aggressive action on Florida's environmental issues and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issues which set Gillum firmly to the left in his party and drew contrast from his more centrist opponent, Gwen GrahamGwendolyn GrahamJimmy Buffett takes musical shots at Trump during concert Jimmy Buffett hosting free Florida concert to support Gillum, Nelson Overnight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site MORE.

On Wednesday, Gillum said that his campaign's embrace of left-leaning causes gave voters a clear choice and a positive message to rally behind.

"We can talk about those things, excite our voters, and give them something to vote for, not just against," Gillum said, echoing criticism of the Democratic Party that suggests the party is too focused on being opposed to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE.

Gillum edged out Graham by single digits Tuesday night after earlier this month winning the endorsement of Sanders, who traveled to the state to campaign for the candidate in the weeks leading up to the election.

"What has made Andrew’s campaign so powerful is that he’s not just working hard to win an election, he has laid out a vision for a new course for the state of Florida and our country. No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own," Sanders said in a statement Tuesday night.

"Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it."

Gillum, who is running to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Scott (R), will face Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisHillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (R-Fla.), who is backed by Trump, in November's general election.