The Latest: DeSantis’ pick explains past Trump criticism
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis’ and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s picks as running mates (all times local):
The running mate for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis says her past criticism of President Trump occurred during the presidential race when she was supporting fellow Floridian Marco Rubio for the nomination.
State Rep. Jeanette Nunez told reporters Thursday after a rally for GOP candidates in Orlando that “elections are elections” and “it is what it is.”
Nunez says it was no secret she was a Rubio supporter during the 2016 GOP race for the presidential nomination. Nunez tweeted during the race that Trump was a con man who supported the Ku Klux Klan.
DeSantis won the GOP nomination last week with Trump’s endorsement, and he’s been a constant defender of the president on Fox News.
DeSantis is facing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, who picked Orlando-area businessman Chris King as his running mate on Thursday.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is picking Orlando-area businessman Chris King as his running mate as he seeks to become the first Democrat elected Florida governor since 1994.
Gillum made his announcement on Facebook Thursday morning.
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.
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis picked state Rep. Jeanette Nunez to be his running mate Thursday, marking the first time a Cuban-American woman will be on the Florida ballot for lieutenant governor.
Nunez has represented a Miami district since 2010, and currently serves as speaker pro tempore.
The pick also is noteworthy because she has been at odds with some of the DeSantis’ 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 in during the 2016 presidential election 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 that’s in line with Trump’s, Nunez was the prime sponsor of a 2014 education bill to provide in-state tuition for immigrant families, a bill opposed by several immigration hardliners including current U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has campaigned with DeSantis.
Nunez was expected to join DeSantis, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican candidates at a rally in Orlando. Scott can’t seek re-election because of term limits and is instead challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum was scheduled to announce his pick for running mate Thursday morning.