Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s former chief of chief is admitting that Gillum presided over the highest number of murders in 2017 than any other year in Florida’s capital city.
Dustin Daniels, who is running to replace Gillum as Tallahassee Mayor, said in a campaign mailer, “Tallahassee had the highest number of murders in history last year.” Tallahassee Reports first disclosed the mailer.
Daniels mailer exposes a topic Gillum avoids discussing – the City of Tallahassee’s crime rate. Leon County has led the state in overall crime for four straight years – 2014 to 2017 as well as violent crime including murders. Gillum usually avoids directly talking about the issue. He was asked about the crime rate earlier this month on CNN. “I’m very, very proud of the very progressive way we address crime in my city,” Gillum said, “… and frankly I’d like to see those kinds of strategies scaled up all around the state of Florida.” Gillum went on to say crime was a problem in Leon County not necessarily Tallahassee saying he was “mayor of the city of Tallahassee and not the county of Leon.” Tallahassee makes up 2/3rds of the population of Leon County, and is its only incorporated city while the rest of the county is primarily rural.
Gillum’s opponent Ron DeSantis pounced on Daniels’ admission. “Andrew Gillum’s former Chief of Staff admitting what we all knew: Tallahassee saw murder and crime rates spike while Andrew Gillum was Mayor. Gillum’s abysmal record running Tallahassee is now being exposed even by his own allies,” said Stephen Lawson, DeSantis campaign spokesperson.
Statistics for the first half of 2018 do show crime has decreased in Tallahassee. In the past week though there was another fatal shooting and just this weekend alone showed a rash of auto burglaries. The Tallahassee Police Chief, who’s appointed by the City Commission, calls the spike in crime “seasonal.”
It’s election season in Florida and this admission couldn’t come at a worse time for Gillum who touts his record as Tallahassee Mayor in asking voters to be Florida’s next governor.