People of all races and ages gathered on Florida A&M University’s quad Tuesday evening for the watch party for Andrew Gillum.
The rain and wind couldn’t defeat the crowd as the energy soared with positivity and hope for Florida's future. The crowd cheered and chanted “bring it home” throughout the night.
This election was important to many because people were hoping for a change. For many years Florida has been a red state, with Republicans controlling the Legislature and the Governor’s Mansino since 1998.
“To see Gillum win tonight means so much, not only to me but to my family as well,” said Chelsea Malony, a senior at FAMU. “I don’t know if any African-American has run for governor in the past, but for me, Gillum is the first that I have seen. This shows the younger black kids that ‘Hey, I can do that too.’”
Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor and a FAMU grad, was in the running to become Florida’s first-ever African-American governor.
Gillum is a proud FAMU alum and he brought his campaign back to where it all first started.
During his days on the hill, he first got his feel for the world of politics. Gillum was the president of the Student Government Association. Upon graduation he continued activism into the local community, becoming the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission.
Many at the watch party said that Gillum's win could impact FAMU is a positive way.
“Gillum being a former student body president inspires all the young student leaders on campus that are getting ready to go into their positions. It shows that it doesn’t have to start when we're older, the passion and drive can start right here on this campus,” said Cleia Lodree, a student at FAMU. “I think it would be a good light on not just FAMU, but all HBCUs.”
As the race between Gillum and his opponent Ron DeSantis became closer, some wavered in their faith while others still believed that Gillim would bring it home.
“I’m not worried. Most of the elections that I’ve watched and have been old enough to follow, Florida has always been a close call,” Malony said. “We’re still waiting on the results from Miami-Dade so there’s still faith.”
As more poll results started rolling in, Gillum's numbers were falling behind.
Gillum conceded the race at around 11 p.m.
In an emotional address in which he appeared close to tears, Gillum apologized to those who had worked on his campaign.
“I sincerely regret that I couldn't bring it home for you,” Gillum said. “But I can guarantee you this, I’m not going anywhere. We’re going to fight.”