by George Rasley, CHQ Editor
Tuesday’s Florida Primary Election rocked the Florida political establishment of both parties and set up what will likely be the most expensive and certainly the most important gubernatorial election of 2018.
On the Republican side Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-6) one of the most visible conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives rode his national media profile to a wipeout of Florida political icon, Republican Ron DeSantisCommissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.
Putnam, once the youngest member of Congress and one of the Sunshine State’s most popular politicians, was long assumed to be on his way to the Governorship, the Senate and perhaps even the presidency. On Tuesday those expectations came crashing down – crushed in a wave of populist support for Congressman DeSantis, who has been one of President Trump’s staunchest defenders on TV and who proudly campaigned with Donald Trump’s endorsement.
While DeSantis and Putnam differed little on real substance – both are solidly conservative Republicans – it was DeSantis’ campaign against the Tallahassee political establishment that defeated Putnam, who had, perhaps unfairly, become seen as the candidate of a notoriously corrupt state capitol.
On the Democratic side another iconic Florida political name fell to an outsider candidate. Former Representative Gwen Graham, the daughter of Democratic Senator and Governor Bob Graham, was defeated handily by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
Gillum, an outspokenly progressive African-American, is the candidate of Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and Far-Left billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of the “Need to Impeach” super PAC.
According to reporting by The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Gillum’s campaign platform calls for a steep corporate-tax increase to pay for a billion-dollar boost in public-education spending, a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Medicare for all, and a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage, abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the impeachment of the President.
Gillum has made class warfare a central element of his campaign: The matter of how a poor young person might make it in a society arranged for the wealthy is one of Gillum’s main themes. At campaign events, he often introduced himself by saying he was “the only non-millionaire in the race,” reported Mr. Wallace-Wells.
In addition to Steyer, Gillum also has deep connections with Far-Left billionaire and Nazi collaborator George Soros.
As Benjamin Wallace-Wells reported for the New Yorker:
Gillum had also recognized that the big money in the Democratic Party—Steyer’s money, George Soros’s money—is now on the left, not the center. Last year, Gillum watched closely as Soros’s cash helped propel progressive candidates to victory in several local elections, including the Philadelphia District Attorney’s race. Gillum was familiar with Soros and his organization, the Open Society Foundation: a few years ago, he helped launch a national network for young progressive elected officials, and the Open Society Foundation was the group’s main donor. He had been in the financier’s New York apartment, addressed his board of directors, and, this spring, dined with him in San Francisco when the two men happened to be in town. Soros committed to back Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign. “If I’m remembering it correctly, it was, ‘We don’t know if you can win, but we would like what it could represent,’ ” Gillum said. “I interpreted it to mean that it would be significant to see a person of color taken seriously in a statewide race.”
Gillum managed to get a meeting with Steyer, too. “At the beginning, he told me he had a rule around trying to stay out of primaries,” Gillum told me. “As I talked to him about what I believed, I told him, straight up, ‘In your brand of politics, you are never going to have anyone come out of these primaries who shares that belief system if you don’t get involved.’ ” He needed money to beat money. On June 28th, Steyer’s organization, NextGen America, announced it would commit a million dollars to support Gillum’s campaign.
The Thursday before the election, Politico reported that Gillum had taken in a last-minute windfall of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars—three hundred thousand from Steyer, two hundred and fifty thousand from Soros, and a hundred thousand from anonymous individuals “affiliated” with those two billionaires.
The coming general election campaign between DeSantis and Gillum will be the first real test of a Republican who wholeheartedly embraces Trumpism and a Democrat who embraces the new Far-Left Democratic Party of billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros.
On the eve of the 2016 presidential election we said if Trump wins Florida, he will win the presidency. Republicans and conservative-populists must understand that, more than any other 2018 election, the 2020 presidential election is at stake in Florida. The aim of Steyer, Soros and their network of Far-Left megadonors isn’t just electing another progressive governor, it is putting Florida out of reach of Republican presidential candidates forever.