Leading progressives have thrown in with Andrew Gillum – it’s a horrible mistake

City of Tallahassee

Progressive groups in Florida and from out-of-state have spent millions in the last few weeks to prop up the Gubernatorial candidacy of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. During this campaign, Gillum has strongly articulated progressive principles (except on the death penalty where his position is wishy-washy at best) and would be the state’s first African-American Governor if elected. That’s a positive and explains why so many are excited about his candidacy.

But unfortunately, from my perspective nominating Gillum would be a disaster for Democrats. It’s not because he’s African-American or progressive – those are positive things. It’s because he’s skirted the line on ethics all too often. Gillum, who has spent his entire adult life in public office unfortunately reflects a culture of entitlement among officeholders- the very culture voters have come to resent. If Gillum were nominated, I have no doubt the issues that have been largely swept under the rug in this primary campaign will get a full, well-funded public airing.

Progressive groups don’t seem to be impacted whatsoever by Gillum’s ethical lapses which will be outlined below. A coalition of groups has put $3.5 million behind Gillum in the last week. That’s $3.5 million NOT being spent on better progressive candidates for various offices in the state. 

Gillum’s most viable opposition is Gwen Graham, a longtime Tallahassee insider whose voting record in Congress is considered by some irreconcilable with progressive goals and Philip Levine, whose own scandals were outlined in this excellent Miami New Times piece. Thus Gillum has received nearly universal support of the state’s progressive leaders – and that is why I am focusing on him and not Graham or Levine in this piece. Part of being a progressive from my vantage point is the advocacy of good government, ethical reform and keeping lobbyists that represent corporate interests at arm’s length. Gillum has from where I sit, completely failed to do this. If anything he’s enabled those dark forces both as a City Commissioner and as Mayor of Tallahassee.

Earlier on Sunday, I tweeted the following thread:

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What exactly am I referring to? Well here are several news stories…

Dark money, Coal plant support, An FBI probe, progressives love Gillum anyway

Gillum scheduled meeting with undercover FBI agents during foreign trip with lobbyists

Gillum failed to disclose more than $400k in mortgage debts

Gillum campaign paid rent to his new PR firm

Gillum support of Adam Corey restaurant project

Gillum spends city tax money on voter information from Democratic vendor

(Gillum was cleared by a Grand Jury on this, but it’s still incredibly sloppy that he made this mistake to begin with)

Gillum took boat ride in NYC with undercover FBI agent

Shell game shows how Adam Corey (Gillum’s treasurer) profited off land deal with city

As a city commissioner Gillum supported the building of a coal plant (he eventually turned against it)

Florida Democratic activists love Andrew Gillum – they seem oblivious to the dark cloud hanging over him

Gillum paid by PR firm with no website, Twitter or Facebook account. Apparently no clients either

This list of alleged transgressions should give any voter pause. But it seems most progressive leaders don’t know or don’t care about it.

Maybe in some cases sloppiness or just getting caught in a bad position. That can account for one or two lapses, but a clear pattern has emerged. I will say Gillum deserves credit in that somehow he’s been made of Teflon with progressive activists who seem to not be bothered by these scandals. Some of these activists rail against any GOP officeholder or even more moderate Democrats who make mistakes or get caught in a scandal, no matter how minor. But they seem oblivious to any mention of scandal or misconduct with relation to their favored gubernatorial candidate.

The candidate himself has appeared completely without remorse about his lapses in judgement at best or at worst outright cronyism and deception. It’s difficult to have much sympathy for someone who shows absolutely no inclination that he may have acted inappropriately especially when we are trying to nominate the strongest possible candidate for a General Election.

This also begs the question if we on the left are willing to look past these sorts of alleged transgressions with our own, how can we be credible when we attack conservatives for ethical misconduct? Is it possible attacks on the culture of cronyism in the Florida Legislature and state government are less credible because we’ve been willing to simply ignore or demonstrate blissful ignorance toward similar level if not greater corruption in the Democratic run city of Tallahassee.

I’d have loved to have supported Andrew Gillum, but unfortunately the reality is he needs to be defeated in the primary otherwise the Democrats could be in for a rough November.

14 comments

  1. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    I agree with everything you have stated here 100 percent! I have cringed at the undying devotion that the ultra liberal progressive wing of our party have devoted to pushing Gillum and the sheer ignorance of all these ethical lapses and FBI investigations that the Republicans would use to crucify Gillum should he be nominated

  2. Victoria Olson · · Reply

    It is NOT a horrible mistake that Progressives are promoting Gillum, he has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders & Tom Steyer. That is just your opinion & it stinks! Florida doesn’t need another businessman & millionaire, you saw how well that’s worked for Florida with Rick Scott. Get your head out of your ass.

    1. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

      Endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer??? What the hell does that mean? Who the hell are they? Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary?? And this is exactly what I’m talking about…cause Bernie isn’t even a Damn Democrat and swears that he won’t even be a member or join the Democratic Party!!! Yet we’re supposed to twist ourselves in knots every time Bernie has a brain fart! How rediculous! We even changed all the Democratic Party rules in Chicago this weekend for Bernie and he’s not even a member of our Party…Tom Lehey of the same state as Bernie is not ashamed to be Democrat but our Socialist Comrad is pulling all our legs

  3. Victoria, Kartyk is right. I have purposely not gone negative on Gillum in case he wins. However the truth is the Republicans would love to see him win the nomination. They will destroy him. If he wins I will support him but only Graham can withstand the 100 million that will be spent by the Republicans. The Democrats and Republicans have already spent 50 million trying to take her down. If she survives the primary she will win the general election.

  4. The Observer · · Reply

    As you and I have been through many cycles together, I feel like I am in the Movie Ground Hog Day. Only this time it is the Florida Democratic Party who are once again clueless as to what the folks on the ground think. How many times do we have to watch this train wreck happen. As long as the same consultants keep getting paid time and again to make the same mistakes we are screwed. It’s a shame they are so quick to marginalize people like us.

    1. And now Dem elected officials are now anonymously complaining about Bill Nelson’s weak campaign and that it might take the whole ticket down. Funny how those same elected’s have allowed him to more or less control the party infrastructure for years, allowing it to rot away.

  5. For all your claims of superior knowledge & ethics you’ve fallen prey to a scam.

    Tallahassee Reports and the Democrat are basically Gwen Graham fronts.

    Corporate Republicans trying to take down an articulate African-American progressive.

    I’ve lost respect for you. These are all minimal or rumors. NO HARD FACTS!!!

    You’ve been conned. So much for ethics and integrity.

    1. I’m sorry but this is Trump level in its assumption of media agendas for politics.

      I just feel we need to make our standards consistent and believe that isn’t being done with Gillum.

    2. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

      The only ones being “conned” and need to “get your head out of you asses” is all you Bernie (I AM NOT A GOD DAMN DEMOCRAT) liberal progressives who are determined to drag the Democratic Party into oblivion by pushing us so far to the left that the Independents…who decide elections today scare off more voters than the Tea Party ever did. Until you start winning races (which you can’t because Progressives are only a minority within the Democratic Party that make a lot of noise and carry very little votes) then we will be stuck with total Republican control of every branch of government…until “you get your heads out of your asses”!!

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz · · Reply

    The comments are ACCURATE n I wish thry weren’t BUT ARE. Endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer?.Really? Too guys who ‘got religion’ AFTER making a fortune as a vulture investor n the other supporting OUTRAGEOUS ‘GUN RIGHTS’ and having a wife get a job suspiciously tied to a GIVERNMENT FUNDED NON PROFIT with a salary DOUBLE WHAT SENIOR WHITE HOUSE AIDES GET?.And George Soros – who made his Billions shorting European currencies DESTROYING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BLUE COLLAR n CLERICAL JOBS of the working class he professes to love.Victoria Olson probably is a 30ish or younger employee of YET ANOTHER WHITE MIDDLE CLASS NON PROFIT TAXPAYER SUPPORTED THAT ACVOMPLISHES DITTLE. And poor Blacks pay 69 cents for cat food while middle class or rich Whites pay 47 cents in.Fort Lauderdale! Yeah it is the White Midfle Class ‘progressives who have their heads up their asses AND BOTH HANDS ON THE TAXPAYERS WALLET.

    1. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

      Oh and another thing after today’s election is over and our moderate centrist Gwen Graham becomes the Democratic Nominee for Governor, I can already hear the whining and shouting like crybabies when their candidate Gillum comes up short and they pick up their toys and go home mad and don’t lift a finger to help…exactly like they did when Bernie lost to Hillary and they actually went on national TV and called Hillary the “C” word (that rhymes with trunk) and said they were voting for Trump. That’s when I know that all so called “Progressives” should have their heads examined and committed do to insanity!

      1. Dave Trotter · ·

        Proof?

  7. […] a conscious decision not to support Andrew Gillum, the candidate that most aligns with my world view because of ethical questions, which I am afraid will persist into the November election. I’ve been told by multiple […]

  8. I have been a democrat for over 20 years. I commend you riding this piece. It takes guts To stand up and be counted. It’s too bad that on the Republican side not enough of them so-called conservatives are standing up against Donald Trump. They refused to do it because it is inconvenient. Democrats cannot do the same. We cannot afford to have a candidate like Mayor Gillum to drag down the ticket in Florida over his ethical lapses. And they are numerous and Man to stand up and be counted. It’s too bad that on the Republican side not enough of them so-called conservatives are standing up against Donald Trump. They refused to do it because it is inconvenient. Democrats cannot do the same. We cannot afford to have a candidate like Mayer Gillum to drag down the ticket in Florida over his ethical lapses. And they are numerous and many

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