ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – With the raw exposed construction of Hughey Avenue and I-4 as their backdrop, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced their endorsement of Tallahassee Mayor and Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, and hometown Lieutenant Governor nominee Chris King, giving them a potential boost in the highly coveted I-4 corridor for the November midterm election.
The location of the announcement was no coincidence. Mayor Gillum slammed Governor Scott’s refusal of President Obama’s funding for high speed rail which, according to Gillum, was in the best interest of Florida residents. Gillum reiterated his aim to raise teacher pay as his “number one” plan once elected, followed by revolutionizing Florida’s transportation system. He also slammed his opponent Ron DeSantis’ approach of roadway lane expansion, stating that building high speed rail and embracing twenty-first century solutions, Floridians’ commute can be shortened and get them to work on time.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn spoke highly of Mayor Gillum, noting that he has supported Gillum since his campaign began. He gave tribute to the previous leaders in Florida and his company of mayors while raising Gillum. “[These] leaders gave us our roots, but Mayor Gillum will give us our wings…We need Andrew Gillum.” He also went after the GOP. “We need a governor will meet with the PTA instead of the NRA.”
PROTESTORS CRASH THE PARTY
Protestors on behalf of Gillum’s opponent Ron DeSantis crashed the announcement. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke first after Chris King’s introduction, and close to the end of Kriseman’s speech, the protestors began chanting at Gillum, starting with two voices, which grew into five. The initial chant: “Gillum! You’re going to jail!” The next chant, “Gillum! The FBI!” The third chant, “Gillum is a socialist!”
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who followed Kriseman, referred to the protestors as representative of “the past” while Gillum symbolized “the future.” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer not only echoed Buckhorn’s sentiment, but he also challenged the protestors to chant as loudly as they could so he could demonstrate the contrast between them and the larger audience of Gillum supporters, who yelled louder to drown them out.
The protestors with signs marched around the back of the crowd to ensure their Ron DeSantis signs and handwritten signs protesting Gillum were in full view of the cameras. It was then that Gillum supporters mobilized to block the signs from view.
Gillum addressed the protestors by circling back to his campaign message. “You don’t normally hear me say this, but I want to be their governor too.”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org