Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) didn’t pull any punches during the governor’s debate Sunday night, attacking his opponent for his connection to an FBI corruption investigation.
Andrew Gillum is the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida and has been the mayor of Tallahassee since 2014. Gillum, a democratic socialist, surprised many with his primary victory. If he wins in November, he will be the first African American governor in Florida’s history.
But before Gillum can make history, he has to defeat Rep. DeSantis.
During Sunday night’s debate on CNN, moderator Jake Tapper asked both candidates about their ties to the FBI. DeSantis has been a sharp critic of the FBI’s investigation into President Donald Trump.
.@RealDonaldTrump has been the victim of extreme obstruction ever since he first announced his presidential campaign. Add your name in support of our call to launch a second special counsel that will investigate potential abuses by Obama’s DOJ and FBI. https://t.co/KVDM4d4FV4
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) June 19, 2018
Although DeSantis has been criticized for his opinions on the FBI, Gillum’s interaction with the FBI has drawn much more attention.
While Gillum was the mayor of Tallahassee, the FBI ran an undercover sting operation looking into corruption between lobbyists and the city. Gillum wasn’t named in any of the FBI’s investigation, but he was a close friend of lobbyist Adam Corey.
Corey was one of the main figures being investigated by the FBI. He also acted as Gillum’s campaign treasurer when he ran for mayor. Some of the transactions under investigation include expensive vacations, two of which Gillum attended.
When asked about his relationship with Corey, Gillum told the crowd, “We all have friends that sometimes let us down.”
"We all have friends that sometimes let us down," Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum says when asked about the FBI's investigation into potential corruption in his city that includes his former campaign treasurer #FLGovDebate https://t.co/i2hmU7a2UA pic.twitter.com/xnVMKJglax
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 22, 2018
“I am not under FBI investigation and neither is my city government. What we have done is we have welcomed them in. If there is someone who’s done something wrong, they ought to be held fully accountable for their actions. We’ve made every public record available on a publically searchable website in our city. A contrast to how I’ve dealt with the FBI by comparison to how Mr. DeSantis deals with the FBI. He has gone out of his way before he quit his job in Congress to protect Donald Trump, curb the inquiry by Mr. [Robert] Mueller, he has gone so far as to suggest that some deep state is at work to undermine the president. These are conspiracy theories if you will.”
Although Gillum tried to separate himself from the situation by saying he made every record public, Rep. DeSantis went on the attack by referencing Gillum’s vacations with Corey.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) October 22, 2018
“Did you pay for the Hamilton ticket or did the undercover FBI agent pay for the Hamilton ticket? Did you pay to stay at the villa in Costa Rica? Where are the receipts? You have not proven that you paid for anything and that’s the problem.”
While it’s highly unlikely that DeSantis will be scanning Gillum’s vacation receipts anytime soon, voters will have to make their decision for governor on November 6.