Politicians react after Andrew Gillum announces he’s bisexual

(AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)
(AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During an interview on the Tamron Hall Show with his wife by his side, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum told a television audience that he identifies as bisexual.

Gillum surprised many by taking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. He lost a tight race to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Had he won, Gillum would have become the state’s first Black governor.

Gillum said on the “Tamron Hall Show” that he doesn’t “identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual. And that is something that I have never shared publicly before.”

In a March 12 incident, Gillum was found inebriated in a South Beach hotel room where suspected crystal meth was discovered and another man had reportedly overdosed, according to police. Gillum announced after the incident that he was going to a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse.

News4Jax asked political analyst Rick Mullaney if Gillum’s most recent announcement could impact his political future.

“When you turn yourself in because of alcoholism, when you’re seeking therapy, when you’re seeking help, the public pulls for you,” Mullaney said. “So it would be premature to suggest that he doesn’t have a political future and you could very well see him running for office.”

Mullaney said other issues, like an ethics violation during the campaign two years ago, might be a larger obstacle to overcome.

“If he in fact can make a comeback, today is the first step towards that because candid statements about his life, about his challenges, about his difficulties -- he may find a very forgiving public. He may find a very embracing public. But it won’t be for governor, certainly not in the near term. But you could very well see him running for other office, such as Congress,” Mullaney said.

Gillum received reaction quickly after his interview aired, including from several Florida lawmakers.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tweeted: “Sending you love, acceptance, grace, and strength @AndrewGillum”

Chris King was Gillum’s running mate in 2018. He tweeted: “Today, they powerfully shared their truth with courage, grace and authenticity. All of us, and all of Florida, should be rooting for the entire Gillum family.”

Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Florida) tweeted: “But what about the crystal meth, prostitution, and Hamilton tickets though??”

Shevrin Jones, a Democratic member of the Florida House running for the State Senate, tweeted: "Love you Andrew Gillum. Thank you for showing the world that we all have a story to tell and that grace can/should be extended to all of us. This interview is reason 2020 why Andrew Gillum is my brother and friend, and have been for over 18 years. Brother, live your TRUTH, FREE yourself, and give others permission to do the same.”

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