Liberal California activist Tom Steyer is inserting himself into the Florida governor’s race in a major way. Steyer’s organization NextGen America is endorsing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and contributing $500,000 to his campaign, in what NextGen calls an initial investment. The organization is also providing 50 volunteers to assist with the campaign. Gillum, the mayor of a city tainted by an on-going FBI investigation into pay-for-play at city hall, proclaims himself to be the progressive candidate in the Democratic race for governor.
The endorsement was first reported by Florida Politics.
“As we battle for the heart and soul of this nation, Andrew Gillum is the kind of leader we need on the front lines,” said Steyer. “He’s someone we can trust to do the right thing, to put the people before the powerful, and who is unafraid to stand up for justice, now when we need it most. Those who are willing to act courageously and stand up for what is right, are those who will shape the political landscape of the country, and that’s why we’re taking this unprecedented step to make sure Andrew is representing the Democratic Party in November.”
This isn’t the first time the California billionaire has gotten involved in Florida politics. His political action committee NextGen Climate spent $20 million in 2014 trying to keep Governor Rick Scott from being re-elected. He failed. Steyer is also leading the fight to impeach President Donald Trump.
A NBC News/Marist poll released this week shows Gillum running third in a five-person race in the Democratic primary. That poll shows Gillum at 8% trailing former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (19%) and former Congresswoman Gwen Graham (17%).
Gillum already has the backing of another liberal billionaire – George Soros. Despite the financial support, Gillum has failed to gain traction and trails in the financial support needed to run a statewide campaign. He has yet to launch a statewide TV campaign unlike the two co-frontrunners for the Democratic nomination, Levine and Graham.