TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rallying outside the Governor's Mansion Thursday, progressive activists sought to draw a stark contrast between Gov. Rick Scott and the man they hope will succeed him, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

  • Rally comes 2 days after start of Republican ad blitz
  • Opponents labeling Gillum a "socialist"
  • Group held up signs reading "Fish Kill Scott"

The gathering came two days after Republicans launched a $10 million advertising blitz in support of Gillum's opponent, Ron DeSantis.

Many of the ads will undoubtedly be negative, hammering home DeSantis' contention that Gillum is a "socialist" who can't be trusted as a steward of taxpayer dollars.

Gillum's platform is decidedly progressive. The Tallahassee mayor is proposing a $15 minimum wage and raising Florida's corporate income tax in order to pay for a $50,000 starting pay package for teachers.

He also supports 'Medicare for All', the brainchild of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who endorsed Gillum in the Democratic primary.

But the activists at today's rally predicted Gillum will become the state's first African-American governor not in spite of, but precisely because his agenda is so unabashedly liberal. 

"I am so glad that we have a candidate who knows what it’s like not to have, who knows what it’s like to be looked at, looked over and left out," said Lee Johnson of the Florida Progressive Leadership Coalition. "I’m so glad we’ve got a candidate like Mayor Gillum who’s not afraid to stand up and fight against the NRA, not afraid to fight against the governor of the state of Florida." 

The group held up signs reading 'Fish Kill Scott', referring to what they said is the governor's complicity in the twin environmental crises of toxic algae blooms and fish kills resulting from massive red tides.

Environmentalists have called out Scott for eliminating Florida's growth management agency during his first year in office, while Gillum has proposed a return to the regulatory structure in place before Scott arrived in Tallahassee nearly eight years ago.