WASHINGTON – Fresh off last night's sanctuary city debate with Richard Corcoran, Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum came here for an endorsement by a liberal group and to extol rising optimism among the party base heading into the 2018 elections.

"There are more of us than there are of them," Gillum said of Republicans at a forum hosted by People For the American Way.

He recapped the debate, blasting Corcoran's appeal to "Trump-like fear" with the sanctuary city TV ad, and mentioned last night's Democratic victory in the Sarasota special election.

Gillum was joined by fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams of Georgia and David Garcia of Arizona. All three states are currently overseen by Republicans but experiencing changing demographics that Democrats think will make them increasingly competitive.

Gillum portrayed himself as the pure progressive in the Democratic primary and sized up his opponents.

Philip Levine, he said, is a self-funder who thinks he's the Democratic Donald Trump. Chris King has no elective experience. Gwen Graham has a Congressional voting record that includes voting with Republicans on the Keystone Pipeline.

He told the story of his upbringing and how that would relate to everyday people. "It's a true one, it's an honest one it's not one I have to read about it's one that I lived," Gillum said.