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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Andrew Gillum was in Miami Monday, seeking to become the first African American governor of Florida.

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At a taping of CBS4’s Facing South Florida with Jim Defede, Gillum pushed back against his GOP opponent Ron Desantis who has characterized him as a “socialist” with extreme liberal views.

“I am a Democrat,” Gillum told Defede, going on to recount his growing up in Richmond Heights, the son of a school bus driver.

Desantis has said Gillum’s proposed taxes and Medicare for all could turn Florida into a third world state.

“Venezuela was like the most wealthy country in Latin America, and now look at it,” Desantis said during a visit to Miami late last week.

Gillum makes no apologies for proposing a $1 Billion corporate tax increase to boost public school funding.

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The 30,000 member United Teachers of Dade endorsed Gillum on Sunday.

“Andrew Gillum understands that education is the cornerstone of a strong economy. Our kids deserve the best, let’s get give them Andrew Gillum,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats president of United Teachers of Dade.

Later Monday Gillum stood shoulder to shoulder with a coalition of LGBTQ groups who endorsed his campaign.

Long before gay marriage was legalized Gillum was supporting benefits for same-sex couples in the workplace

The organization, Human Rights Campaign, has given Desantis a grade of “zero” for his votes against LGBTQ interests as a congressman, and for speaking to an anti-LGBTQ organization.

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According to the website realclearpolitics.com, an average of the most recent six polls shows Gillum with a 3.5% lead over Desantis, with some 6 week’s still to go before the general election.