STATEMENT: Bring It Home Florida Launches New Voter Registration and Re-engagement Push

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Organizers from Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign proudly announced the launch of Bring It Home Florida, a new progressive non-profit organization dedicated to registering and re-engaging voters, advocating for change across the Sunshine State, and bringing communities together.

Bring It Home Florida will focus on Florida’s most pressing issues, including gun safety, expanding health care to every Floridian, protecting our environment, ensuring equality for our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, and making Florida a more fair state for everyone.

“I’m exceedingly proud of the everyday people who are building on our movement and momentum from the last two years. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and the only way we will build a progressive future for Florida is by working on the ground in our communities,” said Andrew Gillum.

“Our movement is ready to build on the incredible grassroots excitement and enthusiasm that Mayor Gillum led in 2018. We’re ready to take Florida back by ensuring that the voices of everyday Floridians are heard at every level of our government,” Millie Raphael, co-founder of Bring it Home Florida said.

Learn more about Bring It Home at bringithomefl.org.

###

MEDIA CONTACT:
[email protected], 305-482-3863

Andrew Gillum set to launch voter drive

This article was originally published on Florida Politics. Click here to read it.

Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum‘s next act appears to be a voter registration drive aimed at putting together a Democratic voter base to help defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee, has, for weeks, been advancing a “major announcement” set for Wednesday at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. The announcement is coming at an RSVP event, with the doors opening at 5 p.m.

As first reported Wednesday by Politico and confirmed by Florida Politics, Gillum intends to lay out the framework for a voter registration program under the flag of a newly-formed “Bring it Home Florida,” using his gubernatorial campaign’s slogan. As noted by Politico, Gillum still has almost $4 million left unspent from his campaign’s unofficial political committee, Forward Florida.

In January a not-for-profit organization, Bring it Home Florida Inc., was registered with the Florida Secretary of State.

Gillum has been both teasing and brushing aside speculation that he might launch a candidacy for president.  He’s also been followed by ethics complaints that had haunted him during the campaign andremained long after he lost the election to Republican now-Gov. Ron DeSantis.


Gillum launches Bring It Home Florida

Nonprofit organization to fix the Democratic party’s biggest issue

This article was originally published on The Miami Times Online. Click here to read it.

After campaigning across the state of Florida to be the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and candidate, Andrew Gillum made assessments about the political landscape: The state of the Democratic Party is disorganized.

“We are the Democratic Party, and I will say that it is time to organize,” Gillum said in a recent interview. “The strength of the party was organizing authentically … We need to get back to our roots, get back to the tradition.”

Gillum also learned that many people weren’t sure why they needed to get involved in the electoral process. He also met many advocates, people who loved the state and shared his vision.

By marrying these two spectrums, Gillum created Bring it Home Florida, a charitable organization, whose goal to register and engage 1 million new voters in Florida by the 2020 primary. He will reveal Bring It Home Florida to the nation late Wednesday afternoon at Florida Memorial University.

The organization, incorporated in January, will seek to re-engage about 2 million Florida voters who are eligible to vote but did not in the last presidential and gubernatorial elections.

“That’s about six years by 2020 that they would have been out of the voting process,” Gillum noted. “We want to bring them back.”

The not-for-profit’s board is made of 10 influential women and one man, Phillip Jerez, Gillum’s former campaign director. Other board members include Boca Raton’s Dana Aberman, chairperson of Gift of Life’s Steps For Life 5K of South Florida; Robbin Bray, Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) at-large delegate for Bernie Sanders; breast cancer advocate and niece of former Jacksonville mayor Tommy Hazouri Donna Deegan; South Florida real estate agent Regina Ferdinand; and Apryl Freeman, an educator and alumni of Florida A&M University, Gillum’s alma mater.

The entire nation has been speculating on what Gillum is going to announce on Wednesday at FMU. News outlets have been intimating that Gillum is going to make a run for president or some other significant office in the 2020 General Election. 

By forming an organization focused on voter registration, Gillum is trying to improve his odds of winning if and when he runs for office again and improve the chances of flipping Florida to a blue state.

“Florida doesn’t need to be the 1 percent state,” said Gillum, referring to the tight margins by which candidates win or lose. Gillum lost his bid for the Florida governorship by 32,000 votes.

In the 2020 presidential race, winning Florida’s 29 electoral votes will be crucial to whomever wants to occupy the White House.

Gillum will join forces with several voter registration not-for-profits that need financial support to do their work year-round, and not just during election season. Another paradigm shift that Gillum hopes will happen is that those people who are used to giving to political candidates will also give to the work of voter registration. 

Gillum’s announcement comes on the same day that the Florida Democratic Party announced that it plans to make a $2 million investment in voter registration ahead of the 2020 elections. The investment will go toward new technology, advanced data models and hiring more full-time organizers. The party is aiming to register 200,000 voters before the 2020 primary.

The program is a part of the joint effort by Democrats … to create the electorate we need to win in Florida, Juan Peñalosa, the Florida Democratic Party’s executive director, said via email.

“As one of the more exciting leaders of our Party in Florida, we’re excited for Andrew Gillum to direct his energies toward registering voters and we are working closely with Mayor Gillum to ensure we meet aggressive goals to bring more Floridians into the democratic process,” Peñalosa said.

Newly elect president of the South Dade Democratic Black Caucus, Ron Brown chapter Reverend Kevin Chamblis said the party had informed the caucuses that voter registration was a priority.

“We were aware that this was a priority for the party and that they would invest significant amounts of money toward implementing a Voter Registration Plan. In addition, we look forward to working with the Party to implement that plan, specifically in committees of color,” Chamblis said.

The Black community has long complained that the party does not give it the tools it needs to run grass-roots campaigns such as voter registration drives. 

 Chamblis said voter registration will be a “Herculean task,” because of the  passage of Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to felons who have served their terms and who were not convicted of a sex crime or murder.

“We applaud every effort that the Democratic Party will take to register voters, especially in communities of color,” he said.

CORRECTION: Dana Aberman is the chairperson of Gift of Life’s Steps For Life 5K of South Florida. She is not a co-founder of the organization as previously stated in this article.

Andrew Gillum Launches Massive Voter Registration Campaign

The former gubernatorial candidate said he plans to register at least 1 million Florida voters before the 2020 presidential election.

This article was originally published in The Huffington Post. Click here to read it.

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said Wednesday he will not run for president and is instead launching a huge voter mobilization campaign to help Democrats secure his home state in the 2020 race.

The former mayor of Tallahassee said he plans to register at least a million Florida voters before the 2020 election. Gillum’s supporters registered the voter outreach organization Bring it Home Florida with the state last week, according to Politico. The nonprofit is named after the Democrat’s signature campaign phrase.

“It requires that we get out there, and that we organize, and that we activate and that we produce a voter who is going to show up not just on Election Day, but the day after, they’re gonna be there to hold you accountable,” Gillum said Wednesday night at historically black Florida Memorial University.

Democrats say they have identified millions of Florida residents who are not registered to vote despite being eligible. But Gillum is optimistic about voter engagement, citing Florida’s historic move in November’s election to get rid of a Jim Crow-era policy and restore voting rights to people with felony records.

“Because we turned out and we voted like our lives depended on it, 1.4 million people now have the ability to register to vote here in the state of Florida,” Gillum said. “That is a big deal.”

The voting rights measure went into effect in January, but Florida lawmakers said they need to clarify some ambiguities and want to block people with court debts from voting.

The Florida Democratic Party is also pledging to spend $2 million in the next year to register 200,000 voters ahead of the 2020 primary. Gillum also has nearly $4 million available with his political committee Forward Florida, which is also involved in his voter registration campaign.

“This isn’t the sexy work. I’m sure it’s probably more fun for some of those out there running for president,” Gillum said Wednesday night. “This is the hard work of democracy.”

Gillum was seen as a possible 2020 contender after he lost the bid for Florida governor by less than half a percentage point to Ron DeSantis in November. He spoke to The New Times earlier Wednesday about his decision to organize rather than run for president, unlike 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat who lost his Senate race in November.

“There’s no doubt that O’Rourke enjoys a set of privileges in his decision-making that other candidates don’t. Can you imagine it for any of the women that are in the race for president or considering a run?” Gillum told the Times. “I think over the course of this race, we will … discover what Beto O’Rourke’s views are. And I think he’ll be measured on that.”

Gillum joins Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the November gubernatorial election in Georgia, in fighting for voting rights. Abrams, whose loss to former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp coincided with accusations of voter suppression, said she has since started Fair Fight Georgia to promote fair elections and voter participation. Abrams previously founded the New Georgia Project, which has registered over 300,000 black people to vote in the state. She has not announced whether she will run for president.

President Donald Trump narrowly won Florida in 2016, the biggest swing state in the country with 29 Electoral College votes. Trump’s 2020 campaign will have a large presence in Florida, but Gillum said that whoever becomes the Democratic nominee will have a huge chance at winning the presidency if they can turn Florida blue.

“The road to the White House runs through Florida,” he said Wednesday. “We can deny Donald Trump a second term right here in the state of Florida.”

Andrew Gillum’s Next Campaign: Registering Voters in Florida

This article was originally published in New York Magazine. Click here to read it.

Andrew Gillum might be the governor of Florida right now if the state had allowed people with felony convictions to vote. It’s fitting, then, that his first postelection project will be to register new voters across the state. Politicoreported on Wednesday that Gillum has launched a new organization, Bring It Home Florida, to register new voters; at the same time, the state Democratic Party has announced that it will invest $2 million to register 200,000 voters. As Politico notes, registered Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in Florida, but there are 3.6 million voters with no party registration at all. If the party could bring even a fraction of those voters into the fold, they’d be a formidable force at the polls. The passage of Amendment 4, which extended voting rights to most people with felony convictions, in November should also significantly expand the available pool of voters.

Gillum’s project highlights a major midterm theme. Promising black Democrats — like Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Gillum himself — narrowly lost elections to white Republican candidates against a backdrop of voter suppression. The product of an old and endlessly adaptive white-supremacist impulse, voter suppression did not end with Election Night. Gillum and his party will have to work against state Republicans, who steadfastly seek new ways to keep likely Democrats away from the ballot box ahead of a pivotal presidential election. Republican intransigence doesn’t just create obstacles for Gillum and other Democrats; it also lends fierce urgency to their work.

Right now, Florida Republicans appear to be focusing their efforts on scaling back Amendment 4. Though the measure is self-implementing, and thus didn’t require any specific action from state government, newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly insisted that the measure created a significant logistical problem for the state. After first threatening to delay enfranchisement, allegedly so they could determine how to implement the amendment, House Republicans advanced a bill on March 19 that would require this mostly black population to pay all court fees associated with their case before they can vote, even if a judge didn’t sentence them to do so. According to the Miami Herald, the bill “goes beyond” what Amendment 4 actually stipulated, and critics have diagnosed it as resembling the poll taxes that once barred black voters from exercising the franchise.

People with felony convictions are disproportionately likely to be low-income, the direct result of employment discrimination and restrictions on the sorts of welfare that they’re eligible to receive. There probably aren’t many who could afford to pay court fees. This new Republican bill wouldn’t just limit the ability to vote to people who could afford to purchase it from the state; it would handily keep the vote away from many, if not most, of Amendment 4’s intended beneficiaries.

It is a familiar gesture — the first American gesture, as far as the franchise goes — to restrict the vote to white men of means. Though Gillum’s project doesn’t focus specifically on Amendment 4, it’s a necessary, even subversive effort to expand the vote in the face of a centuries-old campaign to lock it away.