Well, maybe this was a predictable result of what appears to be quite a night for former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. He was found in a hotel room last week totally drunk and incapable of speaking with police. Oh, and did we mention that there were bags of meth and reported gay escorts in the room as well? Yes. The other man involved was reportedly suffering a drug overdose. Gillum did not take any drugs or sexual activity, but this is an embarrassing story for one of the state’s rising stars. It’s quite the public relations mess (via Local 10 Miami and Ft. Lauderdale News, local ABC affiliate):
A Democratic party star is facing questions about being alone and inebriated in a Mondrian South Beach Hotel room with a friend who once purported to be “a pornstar performer” online and who ended up hospitalized over a suspected drug overdose.
It all began when Aldo Mejias, a 56-year-old unlicensed physician, who lives near Coral Gables, was so afraid for Travis Dyson’s life that he was forced to call 911.
In a Rent Men profile, Dyson advertised his services as a gay male escort.
Mejias told police officers he entrusted his credit card to Dyson, who also identifies himself on social media as a registered nurse. Dyson allegedly rented room 1107 about 4 p.m. Thursday.
Mejias told police officers he arrived to the room about 11 p.m., and he found Dyson alone with Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee and a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who interacted with celebrities and was even compared to former President Barack Obama.
Mejias said both Dyson, 30, and Gillum, 40, were vomiting, and when Dyson collapsed he conducted chest compressions and called 911.
Officers reported finding three small clear plastic baggies containing suspected crystal meth on both the bed and floor of the hotel room.
Damage control begins now. Gillum is now entering rehab, calling this night a “wakeup call" (via Politico):
Andrew Gillum is getting treatment for alcohol addiction. pic.twitter.com/2DGk3mDh9V— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) March 15, 2020
Andrew Gillum said he would withdraw from public life, closing a chapter in his career that took him from the peak of Florida power to a Miami Beach hotel room where he was found inebriated with a man suspected of overdosing on crystal meth.
“This has been a wake-up call for me,” the former Tallahassee mayor said in a written statement Sunday. “Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles.“
"I will be stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future,” he wrote.
Gillum said he would enter a rehabilitation facility. He apologized and asked for privacy.
Gillum was not arrested over this incident and went home afterward. Yet, it’s clear that he’s trying to make sure he took steps, the responsible steps, in order to blunt attacks from his political opponents in the future. He certainly isn’t leaving politics, but for now—a timeout is needed to reset. He’s a Democrat. He’ll be fine. His allies, especially those in the media will give him plenty of cover. At the same time, with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approval numbers through the roof across the board, with even 46 percent of Florida Democrats supporting the job he’s doing, Gillum should probably reconsider another stab at the governors’ office. Now, Marco Rubio will be up in 2022. That could be another story.