- Andrew Gillum, Florida’s unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor and a rising star in the party, delivered remarks at a Democratic National Committee retreat in Washington on Tuesday.
- This appears to cast doubt on speculation that Gillum will launch a 2020 presidential bid.
- A DNC Finance Committee member told INSIDER that the DNC likely would not have invited Gillum to be its surprise keynote speaker if he was considering a presidential run.
Andrew Gillum, Florida’s unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor and a rising star in the party, delivered remarks at a donor-filled Democratic National Committee retreat in Washington on Tuesday.
Some of the party’s other rising stars – including incoming Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Lucy McBath of Georgia and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen of Nevada – will also speak at the private National Finance Committee event at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, a DNC Finance Committee member who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly, told INSIDER.
This comes amid speculation that Gillum will launch a 2020 presidential bid after the 39-year-old Floridian reportedly met with President Barack Obama at his Washington offices last week. But some individuals with knowledge of the DNC’s practices say the Committee wouldn’t invite a speaker who is considering a presidential run, in order to avoid accusations of bias.
“My understanding is that they were not allowing potential 2020 contenders to speak, given the fact the DNC needs to remain neutral this cycle,” the Finance Committee member said.
Gillum declined last week to elaborate on his thoughts about a presidential run.
“I plan on being married to my wife. That is all I am planning,” Gillum said in response to questions about a 2020 run during an event at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington last week. “What I am committed to doing between now and 2020 is doing everything I can to make the state of Florida available and winnable for the democratic nominee for president.”
Obama has also reportedly met with other potential 2020 candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Florida’s first African-American nominee for governor, Gillum stunned the nation when he won a competitive primary, after being far outspent by his multi-millionaire opponents, and attracted national attention as he waged an aggressive and deeply progressive campaign for governor against the Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis.
His campaign highlighted his working-class roots as the son of a bus driver and a construction worker, and focused on his promises to invest heavily in the state’s public schools and fight for stricter gun regulations and Medicare-for-all.
Gillum ultimately conceded to DeSantis 11 days after Election Day following a statewide machine recount.
President Donald Trump, who at one point called Gillum a “thief,” also noted the mayor’s strength as a candidate.
“He will be a strong Democrat warrior long into the future – a force to reckon with!” Trump wrote.