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Andrew Gillum chooses former opponent Chris King as running mate

Candidates, joined by their wives, make announcement on Facebook Live

The campaign released this photo of Andrew Gillum, Chris King and their wives.
The campaign released this photo of Andrew Gillum, Chris King and their wives.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Democratic nominee for governor Andrew Gillum has named one of his opponents in last month's primary, Chris King, as his pick for lieutenant governor.

King, a businessman from Winter Park, finished fifth in a seven-candidate race in the Democratic primary despite spending several million dollars of his own money in the campaign. His campaign was noted for his criticism of the sugar industry, a call for a tax on bullets to be used for school safety and a proposal to abolish the death penalty.

Gillum and his wife made the announcement Thursday morning on Facebook Live.

Gillum and King talked about the friendship they built while campaigning against each other and even had their wives join the announcement, with R. Jai Gillum talking about the respect she and her husband have for King and his wife Kristen, because of the importance they place on faith and family.

"My heart is really full, and it's full because I know that these two people who we get to stand next to love this state as much as R. Jai and I do, " Andrew Gillum said. "We believe collectively that common sense, that optimism, that inspiration -- all of that will win out."

King has never held public office and highlighted his business experience during his campaign. He is CEO of Elevation, a company that invests in and manages affordable housing for seniors.
Gillum is seeking to become the first Democrat elected Florida governor since 1994.

King came in fifth of five leading Democrats seeking the nomination after spending several million dollars of his own money on the race. A Harvard-educated liberal Christian, King has never held public office, instead highlighting his business experience. He is CEO of Elevation, a company that invests in and manages affordable housing for seniors.

King has said Democrats need to use Bible teachings to persuade Republicans to support policies helping the poor, the sick and the homeless. He criticized the sugar industry, called for a tax on bullets to pay for school safety, and would abolish the death penalty.

"This is not a political marriage. This is not a marriage of convenience. I developed a friendship with Andrew Gillum over 18 months as we were competing - as I was trying to beat him in running for governor," King said. "He beat me pretty badly, but I came to care for him, and I came to admire him - his gifts, his talents and most importantly his vision for the state of Florida."

Also Tuesday, Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis picked state Rep. Jeanette Nunez to be his running mate, marking the first time a Cuban-American woman will run for Florida's lieutenant governor.

Nunez has represented a Miami district since 2010 and serves as speaker pro tempore.


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