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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is on a “Bring It Home” bus tour of Florida. He is rallying voters on college campuses around South Florida.
His first stop was Florida International University.
“When I come back here I want to be able to greet you as the governor of the great state of Florida,” he told a cheering crowd of supporters. “We can make that happen, we can make that happen with your help and we will make that happen,” he said.
He also has stops planned for Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
On the stump with him is Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who is trying to keep his seat in the Senate, running against Florida Governor and Republican nominee Rick Scott.
“The first 9 attack ads that he ran against me,” Sen. Nelson said. “The independent fact checkers said not only were they false, they were pants on fire false.”
The event is billed as a Vote Early-Vote Loud rally.
Meantime, Vice President Mike Pence will make a campaign appearance Thursday afternoon with Gillum’s Republican challenger Congressman Ron DeSantis in Jacksonville.
Thursday’s appearances come after a testy final debate Wednesday night between Gillum and DeSantis.
Gillum blasted DeSantis for comments the Republican made the day after the Aug. 28 primary in which DeSantis warned supporters “not to monkey this up,” referring to state success, by electing Gillum.
But DeSantis lashed back by accusing Gillum of supporting the “radical” Dream Defenders group, which the Republican accused of attacking Israel.
“So you want to talk about division. It doesn’t get more divisive than the Dream Defenders,” he said.
That drew a swift rebuke from Gillum, who said DeSantis “lied 21 times” during a nationally televised debate Sunday night.
“And now today makes the 22nd, and we just started the debate,” Gillum said.
The hostile exchange, which came less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, set the tone for the entire debate at Broward College in Davie.
During one of the most explosive moments, DeSantis, who was on the attack throughout the night, lost his cool after being questioned about the former Congressman’s affiliation with conservative author David Horowitz.
“Are you going to play the McCarthy-ite game?” DeSantis interrupted McDermott.
The moderator persisted, saying Horowitz had questioned the oppression of black Americans because there is not an exodus of blacks from the country. DeSantis had praised Horowitz as someone who “shoots straight” and “tells the American people the truth,” McDermott pointed out, sparking an outburst from DeSantis, a former Navy lawyer.
“How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement everybody makes?” he exploded, saying that as a soldier in Iraq “we worked together as a team regardless of race.”
DeSantis said, as a prosecutor, he “stood up for victims of every race, color and creed” and will “represent all the people” as governor.
“Everyone will get a fair shake. But I’m not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness. I’m not going to let the media smear me,” he angrily continued.
DeSantis repeatedly hammered Gillum about recently released documents the Republican contended demonstrate that Gillum lied about who footed the bill for tickets to the smash Broadway hit, “Hamilton,” two years ago during a trip to New York.
The documents were released to the public this week by Christopher Kise, a lawyer representing Adam Corey, a Tallahassee lobbyist and entrepreneur at the heart of a federal corruption probe involving the city of Tallahassee.
Corey and Gillum were longtime friends whose global travels were part of the 150 pages of texts, emails and other documents released by Kise.
Gillum has steadfastly maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing and has publicly severed ties with Corey. The documents show that Corey told Gillum the Hamilton tickets were provided by “Mike Miller,” an undercover FBI agent who also arranged a boat cruise for Corey, Gillum, and the mayor’s brother, Marcus.
Gillum has said he received the ticket for the wildly popular Broadway show from his brother, and that the Broadway tickets were swapped for a Jay-Z show.
“The problem I have is that I should have asked more questions to ensure that everything was above board,” Gillum said Wednesday night.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”