TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced their running mates for Florida governor Thursday, with DeSantis choosing the first Cuban-American woman to be on the ballot for lieutenant governor and Gillum picking an Orlando-area businessman who competed against him in the primary.
DeSantis revealed state Rep. Jeanette Nunez as his pick through a press release just before a rally with other Republican candidates in Orlando, while Gillum made his choice of Chris King known through Facebook, in a live video that also featured their wives.
DeSantis’ pick is noteworthy because Nunez has been at odds with some of his agenda supporting President Donald Trump. DeSantis won the nomination last week with Trump’s endorsement, and he’s been a constant defender of the president on Fox News.
But Nunez tweeted during the 2016 presidential campaign that Trump was a con man who supported the Ku Klux Klan. Nunez was backing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for president at the time.
And while DeSantis has a tough-on-immigration position in line with Trump’s, Nunez was the prime sponsor of a 2014 education bill to provide in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrant children living in Florida, a bill opposed by several immigration hardliners including current U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has campaigned with DeSantis.
King came in fifth of five leading Democrats seeking the nomination after spending several million dollars of his own money on the race. His campaign was noted for his criticism of the sugar industry, a call for a tax on bullets to be used for school safety, and a proposal to abolish the death penalty.
King has never held public office and highlighted his business experience during his campaign. He is CEO of Elevation, a company that invests in and manages affordable housing for seniors.