Former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is back. Over the last week, Gillum has posted a couple of times on Instagram and even asked his followers if he should keep his recently grown beard.
Gillum made his public comeback to social media by thanking his followers for their support and prayers. He talked briefly about his stint in an alcohol rehabilitation center and how losing the governor’s race threw him into a bout of depression he couldn’t handle.
And while many have criticized Gillum for how he handled the governor’s race, most are supportive that he has a healthy return to regular life, whatever that may be for him.
Yet while Gillum’s return to public is seen as just that, a return to public life, it seems that there may be more to Gillum’s public temperature check.
Gillum was probably the most popular Democrat in the state before his public withdrawal. He was found in a hotel room with a friend who overdosed on drugs back in April. The incident was so embarrassing that Gillum released a short statement and withdrew to the shadows.
But now that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in trouble for his response to the coronavirus, Gillum’s re-entry to public life doesn’t seem so serendipitous. Gillum came within inches of attaining the governor’s mansion, the closest a Democrat has had since Lawton Chiles was governor in the late nineties.
It’s been more than 20 years since the state has had a Democrat as governor, and those on the left are ready to take political power back from Republicans. Is Gillum the right person to do it? Probably not, but it says a lot about Democrats in the state that he’s probably still the most popular Democrat in the state.
Outside of the state’s agriculture commissioner in Nikki Fried, who has raised her profile recently by attacking Gov. DeSantis for his response to the COVID-19 crisis, Gillum is the only game in town.
Whether he decides to run for office again in the near future is up for debate, but don’t think for a second that Gillum’s return is because he’s tired of hiding in the shadows.