Arizona and Florida vote in primary elections
Andrew Gillum, who CNN projects has won Florida's Democratic governor's race, thanked his supporters tonight and told them his plans "for a state that makes room for all of us."
"I sincerely believe that what is going to deliver us to victory is the fact that they are everyday, hardworking people in this state who believe ... that they deserve a voice in our government, too," he told supporters at his headquarters. "And we're going to give it to them."
"This is not my moment. This is our moment."
Gillum is the first black candidate to win a major-party gubernatorial nomination in Florida. He will face Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Trump-endorsed Republican, in a race that pits two 39-year-olds who in many ways mirror their parties' national moods against each other.
"The point has never been lost on me that my name on the ballot is simply a vessel, is simply the name. But what is underneath that name are all the issues that we care so deeply about," Gillum said before ticking off key issues.
Those include fair wages for teachers, reforms in public education, livable wages for Floridians, clean water and oceans, Medicare expansion and better transportation.
"The job of the governor of the state of Florida is to do what is in the best interest of the people of the state of Florida. I look forward to being that governor because I know that beneath my name is also a desire by the majority of people in this state to see real criminal justice reform take hold in the state of Florida."
Gillum, who is one of seven siblings, also described his humble upbringing and his parents' commitment to work -- his father was a construction worker and his mother was a school bus driver.
"Because of their example, it instilled in me a quality of hard work that I'll never forget," he said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as a coalition of progressive groups, backed Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee in Florida's governor's race. Sanders just issued the following statement, praising Gillum and Floridians for "standing up and demanding change":
Congratulations to Andrew Gillum on his victory tonight. What has made Andrew’s campaign so powerful is that he’s not just working hard to win an election, he has laid out a vision for a new course for the state of Florida and our country. No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum will win the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida, CNN projects, scoring a major victory for the party's progressive wing while taking another step toward becoming the state's first black chief executive.
Backed by Bernie: Backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a coalition of progressive groups, Gillum upset former Rep. Gwen Graham who led in the polls for most of the campaign. He outlasted a field of five competitive candidates, in which he was the only non-millionaire — and only supporter of "Medicare for all" single-payer health care.
Democrats in the race, including billionaire Jeff Greene and the wealthy former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, spent more than $100 million for the chance to wrest back control of the governor's mansion, which has been in Republican hands for two decades. Gillum got a late boost when liberal megadonors Tom Steyer and George Soros led a group that donated $650,000 to his affiliated political action committee.
As the primary neared, progressive groups — Indivisible Action, The Collective PAC, The New Florida Vision PAC and the Sanders-inspired Our Revolution among them — banded together to invest an additional $3.5 million in get out the vote efforts supporting Gillum, who campaigned as an outspoken critic of the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" gun law, which he said at a protest earlier this month "has no place in a civilized society."
In a statement Tuesday night, Sanders cheered Gillum's "vision" and cast Gillum as a leader in the broader progressive movement:
"No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That's what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it."
President Trump took to Twitter tonight to congratulate Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for their primary wins.
DeSantis -- who Trump supported -- won the Florida GOP governor's primary. He's looking to replace Scott, who is running for Senate.
Scott will face off against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in November.
Read Trump's congratulatory tweets:
An endorsement from President Donald Trump and frequent appearances on Fox News helped Rep. Ron DeSantis win Florida’s Republican primary for governor over Adam Putnam, the agriculture commissioner who began the race as the favorite.
Trump first endorsed DeSantis, the 39-year-old former Navy lawyer, to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Scott in December 2017, calling him “a brilliant young leader” on Twitter at the time. DeSantis had previously lobbied Trump for his support on Air Force One en route to a political rally in Alabama.
The race is another reflection of Trump’s influence with GOP primary voters.
Putnam, who has been in elected office since winning a state legislative seat when he was 22 years old, had lined up strong support within the state party establishment and outraised DeSantis.
Sen. Bill Nelson will win the Democratic primary for Senate in Florida, and Gov. Rick Scott will win the Republican Senate primary, CNN projected.
Their wins set the stage for one of the top Senate races nationally in November.
So who's going to win come November? CNN rates this as a toss-up, and it will likely be one of the most expensive Senate races of the cycle.
Congressman Ron DeSantis, who received the high-profile backing of President Donald Trump, will win the Republican primary for governor in Florida, CNN projects.
DeSantis will defeat Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.
The Trump bump: Last month, the President hosted a rally in Tampa to support DeSantis (among other GOP candidates). The Florida Republican has even released a Trump-heavy campaign ad, which shows him reading Trump's "Art of the Deal" to his son and teaching his daughter to say "Make America Great Again."