Tampa Bay Times: Andrew Gillum gives $150,000 to help Florida Democrats win state House seats

Money will go to help Democrats flip seats he won but elected Republicans.

The Democratic fight to win more seats in the Florida state house received a six-figure boost on Monday from Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic nominee for governor.

Gillum’s political committee Forward Florida donated $150,000 to the House Victory Caucus, the arm of the Florida Democratic Party trying to shrink the Republican Party’s 26-person majority in the House of Representatives.

“We are glad to invest in House Victory’s smart, grassroots operation that will win seats across Florida in 2020,” Gillum said in a statement. “Together, we’re going to fight to flip Florida blue next year — and I believe that we will win.”

Gillum’s investment will be targeted to House seats he carried in 2018 but are represented in Tallahassee by Republicans. Democrats identified nine districts — including the 67th in Pinellas County currently held by Republican Rep. Chris Latvala — that fit the description. It also includes the Daytona Beach area seat (District 28) that Republican Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff of DeLand won in 2018 by just 61 votes.

The others are in Gainesville (District 21), Seminole County (28) and the rest in south Florida (89, 93, 105, 115 and 120). There’s at least one Democrat registered to run in all of the targeted districts.

Many of these races were lost, Democrats believe, because voters didn’t fill out the entire ballot. The party also hopes to flip seats that Gillum nearly won and continue to trend purple in statewide elections.

“We can do this, and we must,” said Bobby DuBose, one of the two House Democrats expected to co-lead the minority party next year.

Forward Florida has nearly $3 million, much of it leftover from Gillum’s extremely close election last year against Republican Ron DeSantis. Gillum narrowly lost, leaving some — particularly Orlando attorney John Morgan — to question why the Democrat sat on a pile of cash in the final days before his election.

Gillum has funneled some of the money into a nonprofit, called Forward Florida Action, that is focused on registering voters ahead of the 2020 election.

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