In the latest sign of just how nationalized the race for Florida governor has become, former President Barack Obama will join Democrats Andrew Gillum and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Friday in Miami for an appearance that will be sandwiched between visits to the state by President Donald Trump.
Obama, whose visit was announced Monday, is scheduled to stump with the two top-of-ticket candidates and other Democrats at the Ice Palace film studioes only four days before the Nov. 6 elections. Trump will be in Fort Myers with GOP nominee Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott on Halloween, and will be in Pensacola Saturday.
The rallies by the parties’ figureheads come as out-of-state megadonors pump millions into the governor’s race and Democrats beat the bushes to help Nelson keep up with the independently wealthy and self-funding Scott. In the nation’s largest swing state, the parties are going all out during an election that feels like a precursor to the 2020 presidential campaign.
An Obama appearance somewhere in Florida with Gillum seemed likely, as the former president has been rallying Democrats in the Midwest. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, is running a campaign heavy on hope and would be Florida’s first black governor if he beats GOP nominee Ron DeSantis.
Gillum’s campaign didn’t respond when the Miami Herald asked last week if Obama would stump with the Florida gubernatorial candidate, who last week appeared with Hillary Clinton at fundraisers. Nelson is running against Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
“I’m proud and humbled to have President Obama, my friend and a true patriot, on the campaign trail here in Florida,” Gillum said in a statement. “President Obama knows what’s at stake in this election — protections for people with pre-existing conditions, funding for public schools, and leadership to restore our environment.”
Obama’s visit to Miami will fall between appearances in Fort Myers and Pensacola by President Donald Trump, who has vigorously supported DeSantis. Scott’s campaign has said he will also attend at least the Lee County rally, which is set for Halloween night at a hockey arena across from a discount mall. Trump will be in Pensacola on Saturday.
(Article written by David Smiley)