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Andrew Gillum: Instead of focusing on my mortgages, let’s talk about the issues

The Democratic candidate for governor wrote a Medium post in in response to a report that he failed to disclose mortgages on state ethics forms.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks at the Cafe Con Tampa meeting at the Oxford Exchange on Friday, December 8, 2017.  [Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times]
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks at the Cafe Con Tampa meeting at the Oxford Exchange on Friday, December 8, 2017. [Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jun. 7, 2018|Updated Jun. 7, 2018

Andrew Gillum failed to disclose two mortgages on several rounds of state financial disclosure forms. He doesn't think that should be a campaign issue.

The Tallahassee mayor and a Democratic candidate for governor penned a Medium post Thursday where he explained his personal history of home ownership — and voiced frustration over coverage of his filings.

"In 2018, it says a lot that I'm spending time talking about my mortgage, and that we're not talking about big issues facing our state like our health crisis, our underpaid public school teachers and staff, and our gun violence epidemic," Gillum wrote in the post.

Politico reported Wednesday that Gillum didn't disclose $423,665 in mortgages on state disclosure forms filed since 2014. (Florida law requires public officials to disclose debts worth $10,000 or more.) The bulk of that debt came from a $403,655 mortgage from Hancock Bank  — which amounted to 95 percent of the purchasing price on Gillum's current Tallahassee home.

Gillum wrote Thursday that the incorrect filings were unintentional.

"I accidentally put the wrong mortgage down on my forms in the yearly rush to get them filed — and that's exactly why a process exists for elected officials to amend their forms," Gillum wrote.

The liberal candidate for governor also echoed one of his most frequently used campaign lines: He's the only non-millionaire candidate running in the Democratic primary.

"My story isn't uncommon in Florida, or even this country," Gillum wrote. "But it is for a Democratic candidate for Governor."

Gillum will have the chance to talk about the issues at Saturday's gubernatorial debate in Pinellas Park, where he will face off against opponents Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Chris King.