Instead of defeating President Donald Trump the old-fashioned way by just running against him in 2020 like failed Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has mounted a massive drive to register as many new voters as possible.
How? By tapping into the network that his failed campaign built last year.
“I’m tapping into that network — what we built from the campaign, the enthusiasm, the volunteers, the infrastructure, the assets there — and trying to turn all of that energy and effort into registering and engaging one million voters in advance of the 2020 election,” he told the Miami Herald this week.
And the scandal-plagued former Tallahassee mayor has no qualms about whom he registers.
“We’re looking at a target of 1 million. We’ve got over 3 million people eligible to vote, and that’s to say nothing of the 1.4 million returning citizens,” he proudly said to Politico, referring to the convicted felons whose voting rights were restored at the start of the year thanks to an amendment to the Florida Constitution that was approved by voters during the 2018 midterms.
His newfound drive began with an event Wednesday evening at Florida Memorial University.
“Are y’all ready to flip Florida Blue? Or better, yet are you ready to flip the United States of America blue? … Don’t you think if we can put to a million new voters on the table, what that will mean for the future of the state of Florida in the country? Come on, come on ,we can win this thing!” he announced to a cheering crowd.
“Send Donald Trump a message that says your eviction notice is served and you are out of here. I can’t think of a bigger better state to send that message. We are uniquely situated to send that eviction notice,” he added later during the event.
“It requires that we get out there, and that we organize, and that we activate and that we produce a voter who is going to show up not just on Election Day, but the day after, they’re gonna be there to hold you accountable.”
Dovetailing back to Gillum’s network, it includes his political action committee, Forward Florida, and a 501(c)(3), Bring it Home Florida, Inc., formed in January by his supporters.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, his PAC, which boasts $3.9 million assets, will fund his efforts, while Bring it Home Florida, Inc., which last week registered as a Florida Third-Party Voter Registration Organization, will operate the actual registration drive.
Local Republicans have responded to his drive by praising his efforts but questioning his motives.
“I think he’s found a new way to earn a living,” Joe Gruters, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a state senator, said to Politico. “Listen, I encourage everyone to go register to vote. My guess is we will get Republican votes out of his efforts as well. But I think this is more about him finding a job.”
Prior to running to be Florida’s governor, Gillum spent 15 years working in Tallahassee first as a member of the city commission from 2003 to 2014, and then as the mayor from 2014 to 2018. His entire career has been mired in controversy because of corruption allegations.
A poll conducted in 2017 found that an 83 percent majority of Tallahassee residents were concerned about the corruption seen under his leadership. With numbers like that, he’s not apt to ever get a job in Tallahassee politics again, meaning he is effectively out of work.
What remains unclear is whether the former Tallahassee mayor is just using this newfound voter drive as a means to drum up attention and prepare for his bid for the presidency.
While he’s explicitly claimed he has no intention of running in 2020, he’s acted like a presidential contender. Just watch this ad he published at the start of the month:
At the time everybody assumed he’d be announcing his candidacy on the 20th.
Whomever designed this video needs to help me do my weather forecast each night ? Sidebar, this has to be either a announcement for a run for President or Senate. By why make us wait 11 days to know??!!! ???
— Jason Frazer (@JasonFrazerTV) March 9, 2019
Are you going to Miami on March 20th Mr. President?? @AndrewGillum is making a HUGE announcement about 2020!! I want to go now. Have to find out where exactly this is!!
We miss you #44 and your awesome family! Come back please?!?! #MuchLove
— #ReSisters #DemForce #BackFromHell (@Christy41874560) March 13, 2019
@AndrewGillum is gonna run for President??? If March 20th is the date then that changes a lot. Whew.
— Three Go (@TheBobbyClub) March 14, 2019
Is @AndrewGillum running for President?
He’s making a major announcement on March 20th.
— Chief’s Wife (@sharondigi) March 8, 2019
What happened on the 20th? The voter drive event seen in the video up top.
Regarding the voter drive, there’s one little obstacle in its way. Florida’s GOP-led House committee reportedly approved a sensible measure this week that would require that convicted felons first pay off all their court fees and costs before their voting rights are restored.
Democrats responded with outrage, of course:
A poll tax by any other name… https://t.co/kY65PooPUM
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 19, 2019
No, it’s not a poll tax; it’s personal responsibility. If you don’t want to do the time and pay the costs, then don’t do the crime and you won’t. It’s that simple.
And if you likewise don’t want to wind up an unemployed political operative with nothing better to do that register felons to vote, then simply abstain from partaking in corruption.
It’s not rocket science …
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