By Sarah Cowgill

The hits just keep coming for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida and mayor of Tallahassee, as the FBI, Florida Commission on Ethics, and now even Project Veritas are up in his grill and dribbling out damaging information daily.

Most recently, Project Veritas caught a Gillum staffer giving up all the campaign secrets, like how the promises are empty – though that’s not for the voters to know — and how to whip up the poor by appealing to white guilt.

C’mon, Mayor, you know you can’t do that.

Gillum certainly didn’t need this now, as he has scrambled over the last few weeks to stay ahead of accusations that he accepted high ticket perks for his role as a sitting politician. An undercover FBI investigation into Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency exposed a pricey vacation villa in Costa Rica and tickets to the Broadway musical Hamilton – all without a viable paper trail to Gillum’s personal pocketbook.

And just when the newshounds had heard enough of Gillum calling everyone who dared question his actions racists, documents showing he lied about a campaign trip came to light. Allegedly, Gillum used city funds for a private round-trip flight on a developer’s plane to meet up with potential campaign donors.

C’mon, Mayor, you know you can’t do that.

Let’s Do Lunch

The new evidence provides a glimpse into the supposed shenanigans between the mayor and his big moneyed pals, and names are named. Gillum and Adam Corey, his former pal, political operative, and fixer, are shown to be negotiating with affordable housing developer Peter Leach to schedule a political campaign event.

Andrew Gillum

“Do you want the plane to bring you guys down and back?” Leach wrote to Corey.

“Yes.”

And Leach understood that in order to comply with Florida’s campaign finance law, an invoice would be required, as he wrote in one of the emails: “Adam, can I assume we’ll need and [sic] invoice for this trip to the Gillum campaign for the prevailing RT ticket cost TLH to Tampa International?”

That’s where it all goes south.  The campaign didn’t pay for the flight – the Mayor’s Office did.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported on the outing last summer, quoting spokeswoman Jamie Van Pelt:

“The mayor was invited by Peter Leach to a meeting at his office to learn about some of the work he was doing to advance wrap-around social services in schools and housing developments. While visiting Tampa the mayor also met with local political leaders before returning to Tallahassee.”

Even with a budget line specifically for mayoral expenses, campaigning for the governorship isn’t city business. By Florida law, those types of office accounts can be used “only for legitimate expenses in connection with the candidate’s public office.” Gillum hasn’t been charged with anything criminal – yet – but violating this law may earn him a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail.

Like any good Democrat, Gillum deflects by accusing Republican operatives for the continuing embarrassments.

Omar Smith

His latest spokesperson, Geoff Burgan, explained, “Once again, Chris Kise, one of [former Florida Republican Gov.] Rick Scott’s most high profile political hatchet men, is trying to confuse and distract voters with information that has long been public.”

Dazed and Confused

In the midst of a dead-heat race full of race-baiting, smears, lies, and campaign gotchas, now Gillum has to survive the latest undercover investigation from Project Veritas.  And it is quite mortifying for both the candidates and voters.

Omar Smith, Gillum’s college chum and campaigner, was captured on video enthusiastically bringing the hammer down on his own head and further humiliating Gillum in an epic rant:

“You whip ’em up. The poor, the middle income. You have to whip them up into a frenzy in order for them to vote” and “you have to appeal to white guilt” to get voters to turn out. Get it? Ask anybody outside of here. Man you got to Port St. Lucy, Orlando … them crackers ain’t gonna let us do that S*** dog. Gillum is progressive.  He part of the crazy, crazy, crazies.”

Sadly, Omar now finds himself adrift without a political campaign office in which to opine.

The Florida governor’s race is in a statistical dead heat. At last tally, Florida voters cast at least 3.5 million pre-Election Day ballots, and Republicans lead Democrats by about 2%, with 26% of registered voters having already cast their votes.  It could go either way.

But Gillum might not fair too well if more last-minute news like this is reported.

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