President Obama endorses Andrew Gillum for Florida governor

Obama also endorses Sen. Nelson, Stephanie Murphy, Anna Eskamani

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor. (Steve Cannon/AP)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Former President Barack Obama announced Monday he has endorsed  Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor, as well as a list of other candidates running for state and local races in the midterm elections.

In August, Obama released his first round of midterm endorsements for Democratic candidates in 14 other states. On Monday, Obama’s endorsement included candidates from 30 states, including Florida. He endorsed Gillum and his running mate, Winter Park businessman Chris King, along with Anna Eskamani for Florida House District 47, Rep. Stephanie Murphy and Sen. Bill Nelson.

Eskamani said in a tweet Obama's endorsement will help fuel a win " and give the people of House District 47 the representation the deserve."

In a statement, Obama praised Gillum's plan for expanding access to affordable health care and protecting the state's environment.

“Andrew believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and he will make expanding Medicaid a priority on day one as governor,” Obama said in a statement. “As Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew developed a thriving innovation economy, grew workforce training programs, and built safe communities where our children can thrive — a strong record for which I named Tallahassee a TechHire city. As Governor, Andrew will fight to put the priorities of everyday people first.”

Gillum called earning the 44th U.S. president's support an honor.

"He exemplifies true patriotism and characterizes the American values that both the country and Florida are striving to recapture,” Gillum said of Obama, adding, “As Governor, we’ll build on his legacy by making healthcare a right, not a privilege, investing in our children’s education, and protecting the environment for our future generation of Floridians.”

Gillum's primary challenger is Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.

A Florida spokesperson for the Republic National Committee also released a statement about the endorsement.

“It is no surprise that Barack Obama is endorsing and trying to rescue Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor," Taryn Fenske said in an email. "After months of running a campaign engulfed in FBI investigations, increased crime in Tallahassee, and questions about money he is raising from out of state billionaires, Gillum is failing. No endorsement from a former president can gloss over those facts."

Gillum also received an endorsement later on Monday from Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello who was visiting Kissimmee. Earlier in the day, Rosello endorsed incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is running against Nelson.

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