Failed gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has unveiled plans to register enfranchised felons as part of one-million voter drive in Flordia aimed at thwarting President Donald Trump’s chances of winning the crucial swing state in the 2020 presidential election.
Gillum, who lost a bid to be the governor of Flordia to Republican Ron DeSantis last November, told supporters at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens on Wednesday that Democrats must now engage voters ahead of the 2020 Presidential Primary. “What is happening in Washington, D.C., is not normal,” he said. “We can deny Donald Trump a second term right here in the state of Florida.”
The former Tallahassee mayor is calling the voter registration drive “Bring it Home Florida,” a political action group named after his 2018 campaign slogan.
“Voter registration is red flag No. 1,” Gillum said in an interview with Politico, adding, “We’ve got over 3 million people eligible to vote, and that’s to say nothing of the 1.4 million returning citizens.”
Florida Democrat Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said voter registration is a “top priority” and that the party wants to “set our nominee up for success on day one of the general election.”
In addition to the 4.96 million registered Democrats and 4.7 million registered Republicans in the state, according to recent data from the Florida Division of Elections, there are more than 4 million unregistered Floridians eligible to vote, according to the Florida Democratic party. More than 3 million registered voters in the state have no party affiliation.
Although the state recently passed a constitutional amendment restoring the voting rights to 1.4 million former felons, Florida legislators advanced a bill Tuesday that could serve as another roadblock for those hoping to vote in the 2020 election. If passed, the bill would require former felons to pay outstanding court fees before they can register.
With 29 electoral votes, Florida is considered the biggest prize among swing states. The difference between victory and defeat is often minuscule. President Trump defeated Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton in Florida by nearly 113,000 in the 2016 presidential election.
In addition to overseeing the ambitious voter drive, Gillum will likely continue as a political commentator for CNN. The progressive joined the partisan news network in January as an ethics complaint scrutinizing his relationship with lobbyists while his was mayor was said to be moving forward. As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, state officials found probable cause on five counts that Gillum breached ethics rules by allegedly accepting gifts while traveling with lobbyists in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.