After nearly five months without a campaign manager for his Florida gubernatorial bid, Democrat Andrew Gillum has tapped former Hillary Clinton Pennsylvania political director Brendan McPhillips to manage his campaign.
Tallahassee Mayor Gillum and former campaign manager Phillip Thompson parted ways in early July. Former Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arcenaux and Gillum’s communications director, Geoff Burgan, have been overseeing day-to-day operations for the Gillum campaign since then.
Gillum has fired up many Democratic liberals but lagged in fundraising behind three other Democrats in the governor’s race: former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
McPhillips managed the long shot 2016 Pennsylvania Senate bid of John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock (near Pittsburgh) who endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and got 19.5 percent of the Democratic primary vote. The Gillum campaign’s release announcing the McPhillips hire links to an article describing Fetterman as the “Bernie-inspired candidate” in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
After Pennsylvania’s April 2016 primary, McPhillips joined Clinton’s Pennsylvania campaign as political director. Pennsylvania, which hadn’t been carried by a Republican presidential nominee since 1988, narrowly went for Republican Donald Trump in 2016.
McPhillips indicated the Gillum campaign continue trying to court progressives in the Democratic race.
“I’m very excited to join Team Gillum this week. The Mayor has an unmatched progressive record, from beating the gun lobby in court to standing up against oil pipelines, and I know that in 2018 we are finally going to take back the Governor’s Mansion. We won’t get there by running Republican Lite — we have to be bold to convince this state that it is time to put a Democrat in charge again,” McPhillips said in a statement released by the Gillum campaign.