How Did Andrew Gillum Win?

Florida’s gubernatorial primary brought perhaps the biggest upset of the year, with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum pulling off a surprise win that almost nobody saw coming. With polls predicting a 3rd place finish, how did Gillum manage to pull off victory?

1. He Created Clear Contrast:

Gillum's story wasn't just inspiring, it set him apart. He's the son of a bus driver and a construction worker, the first in his family to attend college, and (would be) the state's first African American governor. Compare that to his main opponents, Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, or Jeff Greene, who all came from privileged backgrounds. And compared to second-place finisher, the super-centrist Graham, Gillum's strong progressive credentials gave Democratic primary voters a clear ideological choice.  

2. He Didn't Fear the Label:

Earning endorsements from the likes of Bernie Sanders sets you up to be labeled a "socialist" by Republicans, but Gillum feared not. Progressives have long argued that staying in the middle doesn't win general elections. You can't win if you don't inspire the base. Enough Democrats felt comfortable with that argument to nominate him. Both conservatives and progressives will have ample reason to vote now.

3. He Brought in New Voices:

From what we can tell so far, the reason Gillum surprised pollsters is because he built a coalition of under-sampled voters - namely people of color and Millennials. Re-creating the Obama coalition, he boosted turnout and has obvious energy going into November.

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