Steyer’s Support for Gillum Overlooks Coal Vote Steyer’s Support for Gillum Overlooks Coal Vote – NTK Network

Steyer’s Support for Gillum Overlooks Coal Vote

Gillum voted in favor of building a coal-fired power plant in 2005, so why is Tom Steyer backing him in 2018?

By NTK Staff | 09.26.2018 @4:15pm
Steyer’s Support for Gillum Overlooks Coal Vote

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer announced Wednesday he planned to put another $5.2 million behind Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial bid in Florida.

The announcement was his latest sign of support for the Democratic candidate, but a piece of questionable coal history is haunting Gillum and raises questions about how he convinced eco-warrior Tom Steyer he was a true liberal on environmental issues.

Steyer’s decision to dump even more money into Gillum’s effort raises questions about how the billionaire reconciled the mayor’s past on coal, which should be problematic for Steyer. In a glowing New York Times piece, Steyer called Gillum a “champion” on climate issues, but a look at Gillum’s history paints a more complicated picture.

The Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this year: “As a Tallahassee city commissioner in 2005 he voted for Tallahassee to join a group of cities and public utilities to build a $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant in north Florida.”

Gillum voted in favor of building a coal-fired power plant in 2005, but later attempted to explain away his vote. Eventually Gov. Charlie Crist nixed the plant altogether. A campaign spokesperson said Gillum was “glad it was never built,” but questions remain about why he voted in favor of it in the first place.

Now, Gillum is brushing off talk of hypocrisy and promising to be a dutiful liberal where environmental issues are concerned. Still, despite winning the Democrat primary in August, the move has not passed the smell test for some on the left.

“‘If you’re willing to say some progressive bull**, [Steyer will] throw some money at you’ … Gillum has said all the right things,” Sean McElwee, co-founder of the Data for Progress think tank, told The Huffington Post.

Gillum is competing against Ron Desantis, a Republican congressman who retired from Congress after winning the Republican primary in August. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Gillum up by 4.5 points, making this one of the closest gubernatorial races this year.

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