Analysis: Everything is at stake in Wednesday’s Governor’s Debate

    Make no mistake about it — All hell is going to break loose at Wednesday night’s governor’s debate. 

    Andrew Gillum’s status as the frontrunner is very much in jeopardy after subpoenaed documents show Gillum took a ticket to the Broadway show “Hamilton” from an undercover FBI agent who was investigating corruption in the City of Tallahassee. Gillum claimed in September that his brother paid for the ticket by swapping it for a Jay-Z concert ticket. Gillum stood by his story Tuesday despite the release of text messages from Gillum and lobbyist Adam Corey showing the ticket came from Mike Miller, the uncover agent. 

    Gillum’s problem is much deeper than accepting free gifts during a trip to New York and Costa Rica, which is illegal. It calls into question the entire narrative he’s sold to Floridians during this campaign – that he was a man of honor, above politics, someone who would do the right thing for the state. Tuesday’s revelations make it seem like Gillum’s also in it for himself. 

    Even more concerning is that Gillum went on Facebook and asserted that Republicans who question him about the allegations are racist.

    Listen, I’m a white guy who’s never experienced racism. So, it’s hard for me to relate. That being said – Really, Mr. Mayor? You can call it politically motivated, but racially motivated? People are allowed to disagree with your policy positions and have every right to criticize when they believe you’ve done something wrong. That’s not racism, that’s the American system of government. 

    To put this moment in the governor’s race into boxing terms, Gillum has taken a body blow. His very integrity is at stake. DeSantis is going to use Wednesday’s debate as a chance to land the knockout punch. 

    Questions to look for:

    Will Gillum continue to insist the ticket was paid for by his brother, despite evidence to the contrary?

    Will Gillum say race is the motivator for these allegations, even though the come from his former campaign treasurer?

    And will DeSantis totally denounce and rebuke racist robocalls made against Gillum?

    Usually political debates can be a yawner, this one could be must see TV. 

     

    David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.