Tallahassee mayor joins 2018 race for Florida governor

Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 13:11:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced Wednesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor, becoming the first of an expected onslaught of candidates hoping to replace Republican Gov. Rick Scott following the 2018 election.

Gillum, 37, made his announcement through a biographical video posted on social media that highlights his working class upbringing in a low-income neighborhood of Miami. If elected, he would be the state's first black governor.

"Our family struggled with being cash poor, but I still grew up rich in opportunity," Gillum said in the video. "Though the public schools I attended weren't always in the best part of town, they were always filled with the best teachers."

Gillum was a 23-year-old Florida A&M student when he became the youngest person elected to the Tallahassee city commission in 2003. He was elected mayor in 2014.

He's little-known outside of Tallahassee. It's one of the state's smallest media markets, which could be problematic in a state with 4.9 million Democrats, nearly 1.6 million of whom live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

His expected competitors include another Tallahassee resident, former Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham, whose father served as governor and in the U.S. Senate. Other Democrats considering a run for governor are Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, trial lawyer John Morgan and billionaire Jeff Greene.

On the Republican side, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is considering a run to replace Scott, who can't seek a third term due to term limits.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)