Politics | November 8th, 2018
Tallahassee Takes Gillum’s Loss as Motivation
By: Aiyana Ishmael
After a hopeful few days on Florida A&M University’s campus, FAMU alumnus Andrew Gillum’s campaign ended in a downpour of emotions for Tallahassee supporters.
The Tallahassee mayor fell short to his Trump-endorsed opponent, Ron De Santis in the Florida governor election. On election night Gillum held his watch party at Lee Hall on FAMU’s campus. Many Rattlers, Florida State students and Tallahassee natives showed up in hope that he would ‘Bring It Home.’
What began as a gloomy, rain-filled night transitioned into shadowed hope for guests as Gillum led the polls early on. This took a somber turn as the night progressed when De Santis gained the lead. Around 11 o’clock Andrew Gillum, R. Jai Gillum, Chris King and Kristen King made their way onstage. Gillum began his concession speech as many attendees relished in the moment.
“I think Tallahassee had a good candidate in Gillum,” Tallahassee native, Curlis Knowles said. “I’ve known Gillum since I was teaching in Leon County. He made sure that the children who were at the most disadvantage got resources that they need in order to be successful at school. And I know he’s concerned about teachers and feels they should be paid more.”
Gillum’s speech gave promise to his supporters that his journey is far from done. He claimed “I’m not going anywhere. We’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep working, we’re going to keep believing. And with all of that I believe ultimately we will be victorious.”
Gillum’s platform included rebuilding the economy, revitalizing public education, protecting and expanding healthcare access and addressing the climate change crisis with a clean energy economy.
Knowles, who has lived in Tallahassee for over 25 years, feels De Santis should focus on the issues Gillum was fighting for. She claims what he has accomplished tonight has sent a message to De Santis. “He needs to consider the platform Gillum ran on and use that in order to make this state a better place.”
FSU students were in attendance to the election night event and were crushed by Gillum’s loss. However, they see this defeat as motivation and believe there is room for improvement.
“I’m sincerely depressed about the outcome,” FSU student Christel Zajanbir said. “It’s definitely not what we hoped for. It’s a big setback, but we can overcome and get together at this point and use this to grow.”
FAMU students were also affected by this loss. Gillum, a graduate of the university, gave promise to many students.
On November 5th, the evening before Election Day, business mogul Sean Combs held a rally at the Al Lawson Center. Guests included Angela Rye, Will Packer, Tiffany Haddish and many more performers. The event focused on going out and voting for Gillum and ‘Bringing It Home.’ After having such an exciting few days rallying students to vote, many were disappointed with the results come election night.
“I believe although we didn’t receive the victory that we may have liked or expected it’s definitely going to change how elections are ran in the future,” FAMU student Percy Henry said. “One way I’m trying to look at is although it didn’t work in the way we would have liked something good still came out of it.”
One of the amendments Gillum helped form and fought to pass included Amendment 4, which restores the voting rights of Floridians convicted of felonies. Winning with 64% of votes, this win became Democrats’ silver lining in what will reinstate 1.4 million people’s voting rights. Henry specified that this new addition of voters is great news and that Florida’s potential is promising.
This governor’s race was a tight election, and many believe a recount may be in the works. The current updated poll shows De Santis winning 49.7 percent to Gillum’s 49.1 percent. Many Gillum backers questioned why he conceded so early.
Votes are still being counted on Wednesday, November 7th closing the gap to 0.62 percent.
An automatic recount would be done if the margin of victory falls below 0.5 percent.
“I am disappointed but I am hopeful because Gillum came in one percent of the vote and that could trigger a recount,” Knowles said. “So there’s hope.”