Video shows Andrew Gillum, who could become Florida’s first Democratic governor in 2 decades, cleaning up damage from Hurricane Michael

  • Mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Florida, was busy cleaning up debris left from Hurricane Michael on Thursday. Video showed Gillum and a city worker going at some downed trees with a chainsaw.
  • Gillum is in a tight gubernatorial race with his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. If Gillum wins in November, he would be Florida’s first black governor and the first Democrat to hold the office in the state in almost 20 years.
  • A campaign spokesperson told Business Insider that Gillum was working in his official capacity as mayor during the cleanup activity.
  • Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday. At least six people have died as the storm tore through the state.

Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum was busy cleaning up debris left from Hurricane Michael on Thursday. Video showed Gillum and a city worker going at some downed vegetation with a chainsaw.

Gillum is in a tight gubernatorial race with his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis. If Gillum wins in November, he would be Florida’s first black governor and the first Democrat to hold the office in the state in almost 20 years.

A campaign spokesperson told Business Insider that Gillum was working in his official capacity as mayor during the cleanup activity.

Hurricane Michael hit Florida as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, causing damage and destruction throughout the state and several towns along the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is being blamed for more than a dozen fatalities in Florida and nearby regions.

Before the storm reached Florida, Gillum made several TV appearances urging residents to take the storm seriously and to get to higher ground.

DeSantis has turned political rallies Tuesday in Tampa Bay and Wednesday in Jacksonville into platforms to collect donations for storm victims.

DeSantis echoed his opponent, urging the 500,000 people ordered to evacuate to listen their local officials and seek safe shelter.

Still, nearly 320,000 people in the path of the storm chose to stay and ride it out. Search-and-rescue operations are underway to find missing residents.

DeSantis has spent the week criticizing Gillum, who was the mayor of Tallahassee when Hurricane Hermine hit in 2016, because it took the city three days to restore electrical power for 90% of its residents.

The DeSantis campaign has aired two commercials questioning Gillum’s leadership ability, citing his response to Hurricane Hermine, but said it would pull those ads Wednesday when Hurricane Michael made landfall.

Gillum called the commercials a “low-blow” political attack.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story noted that Mayor Andrew Gillum was cleaning up debris from Hurricane Michael alongside a member of his campaign. This story has been corrected to reflect that it was a city employee who joined Gillum during the cleanup.