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Dem Nominee For Florida Governor Is Progressive Mayor With Corruption Investigation Swirling Around Him

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by Molly Prince

Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum won Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, kicking off a race for the governorship against Republican primary winner, Rep. Ron DeSantis.

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Gillum edged out a victory over a field of seven Democrats, taking 34 percent of the vote. DeSantis defeated seven other Republicans to win 56 percent of his party’s vote.

Gillum has served as the mayor of Tallahassee since 2014. The USA Herold referred to his candidacy as the “far-left choice,” and he has been endorsed by Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. In addition to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, Gillum has called for universal health care and increasing corporate taxes.

The FBI launched an investigation into Tallahassee’s city hall and key government players as early as 2015 as part of an ongoing corruption probe. Part of the extensive investigation is targeted at Gillum’s longtime friend and former campaign manager, who’s restaurant received tax money.

“We expect the city to respond fully and completely to the subpoena and we hope the situation is resolved quickly,” Gillum’s campaign spokesman told The Tallahassee Democrat after city officials received a new round of subpoenas.

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Gillum also previously came under fire after failing to disclose more than $400,000 in mortgage debts on his financial disclosure forms.

DeSantis has been in a tight race with runner-up Adam Putnam, the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture, both gunning for President Donald Trump’s endorsement, which the Florida congressman ultimately received.

“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a special person who has done an incredible job. His is running in Tuesdays Primary for Governor of Florida….Strong on Crime, Borders and wants Low Taxes,” Trump tweeted. “He will be a great Governor and has my full and total Endorsement!”

DeSantis has represented Florida’s 6th Congressional District since 2013 and was a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. He has also been a frequent critic of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.

DeSantis leads Gillum by three points according to the latest poll.

Prior to becoming Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture in 2011, Putnum served five terms representing the state’s 12th Congressional District. He sparked controversy after Publix supermarket donated almost $750,000 to his campaign, which caused anti-gun Parkland students to launch a “die-in” at Publix stores. Putnum has been portraying his campaign as “Florida First.”

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