TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It was a topsy turvy week for Tallahassee’s two gubernatorial candidates as they geared up for the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Leadership Blue Gala this weekend in Hollywood.
First, Mayor Andrew Gillum got caught overstating the number of his donors by about 1,500, eclipsing news of his endorsement from longtime U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miami.
A press release from his campaign boasted that Gillum led all other major candidates with more than 7,000 donors, downplaying his last place showing in actual money raised.
But separate analyses by Politifact, Politico and Florida Politics showed the number of individual one-time donors was actually closer to 5,400 — earning Gillum a mostly false rating from Politifact.
"After further reviewing our in-kind contributions, we realized we slightly misstated the total in our press release," Gillum spokesman Geoff Burgan told Politifact.
At the same time that reporters were trying to verify his campaign numbers, Gillum’s political committee website, www.foreverfla.com, was having technical difficulties.
For two days, the links directing users to dropbox files for contributions and expenditures were disabled. Whenever a user clicks on those links, a message said:
“That file isn’t here anymore/Someone might’ve deleted the file or disabled the link.”
By Thursday afternoon, the issue was fixed and people could once again view contributions and expenditures to Gillum’s political committee. It also showed an additional $110,000 in expenses had been made since June 1.
“As far as I know it was an IT issue - the same kind that befalls countless other things on the Internet.” Burgan told the Tallahassee Democrat.
Capital crime rate
Thursday brought more bad news to Gillum’s camp as the latest crime statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed Leon County for the third year in a row has the highest crime rate in Florida.
Gillum’s opponents could use that against him. When asked about the city’s crime rate at a Capital City Tiger Bay Club luncheon three weeks ago, before the latest data was released, Gillum said, “I think you will be impressed by the progress we've made.”
Responding to the latest numbers, he said that the “challenges our community faces were not caused overnight, and they will certainly not be solved overnight.”
Speaking of crime
Meanwhile, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office is wrapping up its investigation of Gillum’s use of staff and city resources for campaign-related work.
“Currently, the investigative report is being completed and reviewed be supervisors,” Lt. Grady Jordan of the LCSO told the Democrat. “I cannot give you a time frame as to when it will be presented to the State Attorney’s Office."
State Attorney Jack Campbell said the report was still with the sheriff’s office.
“I'm sure they will send it to me as soon as it is ready but that is on their timeline and not mine,” Campbell said. “Furthermore I am not going to comment at all about the facts of the pending investigation.”
Graham found herself in a social media controversy when Matt Dixon of Politico reported that she had deleted two years of tweets from her congressional Twitter account.
The account was shut down some time between after she left office last January and her decision to run for governor, Politico reported. Her campaign staff said Graham’s congressional tweets have been archived.
“We took it down to avoid confusion between Gwen's congressional account and her non-congressional account, which happened frequently — because she's no longer a member of Congress,” campaign spokesman Matt Harringer told Politico.