ORLANDO, Fla. - The Democratic winners of Florida’s primary teamed up for a rally in Orlando Friday afternoon, with the new star of the state's political party front and center.
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum will be joined by fellow democrats Sen. Bill Nelson, Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, and former congresswoman Gwen Graham, whom Gillum defeated in Tuesday's primary.
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It was Gillum’s first public appearance – aside from televised interviews – since Tuesday’s upset victory. And if one thing was clear, it’s that the nine-week run-up to Election Day is sure to get nasty.
Gillum spent a good portion of his time on stage targeting Florida’s outgoing governor Rick Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate.
“Our governor is running around with [Secretary of Education] Betsy DeVos, trying to figure out what they can do to privatize the public education system,” said Gillum, pledging to pay teachers more. He said he plans to do that with an increase in the corporate tax rate.
“Republican, democrat or otherwise, people all want the same things. They want to work jobs for a dignified wage. They want to be able to take care of their families,” Gillum said.
“Right now the tax rate in the state of Florida is lower than the states of Alabama and Georgia. We're simply proposing a modest increase that would put us in line. But I also reject the idea that the only way the State of Florida is a state that works for everybody is to be a cheap date. It hasn't worked for us," Gillum said.
Earlier in the week, Gillum's November opponent, GOP candidate Ron DeSantis, stirred controversy when he said Florida voters shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Gillum. Many criticized DeSantis for the racial overtone of the statement.
Meanwhile, the Florida GOP responded to Friday’s rally by calling Gillum “the Flavor of the Week.”
On the other side of the ballot, the Republican winners of Tuesday’s primary are expected to join for a rally in Orlando Tuesday, Sept. 4. Details have not been released.
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