Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate that attended an NAACP candidate forum, and leaders of the Florida chapter’s organization are furious.
Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida chapter, commented that “I wanted it to be laid very clear across the state that we in the NAACP find it very unacceptable to play those games with us. They will not treat the black community like our votes don’t count.”
All the candidates were to be featured in the event, but at the last minute the campaigns of Chris King, Philip Levine, Gwen Graham and Jeff Greene all backed out.
In the end, Mayor Gillum was the only one left on the stage to answer questions from the crowd. Gillum is also seeing a surge in the polls after being endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders who also campaigned with him this past week.
It’s reported that Greene’s campaign canceled a minute before the event was to begin, and Greene spokeswoman Claire VanSustern noted that “We apologize for any misunderstanding, but the scheduling team did not confirm Greene’s attendance.”
King spokesman Avery Jeff said they never confirmed that they were going but that King “deeply understands the stakes of this election for communities of color.”
In addition, Levine’s senior advisor, Christian Ulvert, said that Levine was supportive of the event but that he never confirmed he would attend. Ulvert also fired back by saying that “This past week, Mayor Levine was only candidate to attend a forum with the Lakeland NAACP — he was the only gubernatorial candidate there, and the only gubernatorial candidate to ever attend one of their forums.”