Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who's come to personify the left flank of mainstream American politics, has endorsed Andrew Gillum for governor.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Sanders said he is backing Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, because of Gillum's stances on health care, the minimum wage, immigration and the environment.
"Andrew has never backed down from a fight, including beating the NRA and standing up against xenophobic politicians," Sanders said in the statement. "Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida — a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests."
Gillum already had the endorsement of Our Revolution, the group that spun off of Sanders' unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign, so it's not too surprising that Sanders would also throw his support behind Gillum. It's also unclear just how much Sanders' support will mean in Florida, where Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton by more than 30 points. (Gillum endorsed Clinton relatively early on in 2016.)
But Sanders remains a major figure in progressive politics. His support could make the difference in the wide open Democratic gubernatorial primary, which pits Gillum against Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Jeff Greene and Chris King.
"It's an honor to have Senator Bernie Sanders' endorsement in this campaign," Gillum said in a statement Wednesday. "He has been an unapologetic fighter for everyday working people standing up to the special interests. From Medicare-for-All, to a $15 minimum wage, his ideas and platform have become the Democratic Party's north star on economic justice for those who need it most."