The push to draft Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to run for governor has picked up two more supporters.
Mayor Lauren Poe of Gainesville and Mayor Eric Jones of West Park hopped on the bandwagon Thursday.
Gillum, a 37-year-old Democrat, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body.
“As mayors from across the state of Florida, we know the importance of having a governor who understands the needs of our cities,” Poe and Jones, both Democrats, said in a joint statement. “We believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nearly 14 years of local government experience will be a huge asset as the next governor of our state.
“We have admired Andrew’s innovative, inspired and forward-looking leadership,” they said. “He created a jobs program to help young people find quality work, and he has developed unique ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses.
“Under his leadership, Tallahassee was named one of the top cities nationwide to receive designation as a TechHire community by President Obama’s White House, allowing residents to train for the jobs of tomorrow’s economy,” the mayors added. “In short, Mayor Andrew Gillum is the real deal.”
The jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race already has begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.
On the Democratic side, outgoing Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.
Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that stretches from Jacksonville to Gainesville. But Gillum stayed out of the race, and former state lawmaker Al Lawson, another Democrat, won the seat.