ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum toured the I-4 corridor with his biggest endorser Friday -- Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor running for the Democratic nomination for governor, appeared with the Vermont senator at rallies in Tampa and Orlando.

 "The progressive movement in this state is going to show up like we never have before," Gillum said at Friday's Tampa rally.

"We're going to show up because we believe health care is a right, not a privilege. Climate change is real and stand your ground has no place in a civilized society," he said.

Gillum is trailing in the polls, but he is getting some liberal star power from Sanders. Gillum's campaign message is almost similar to Sanders' presidential campaign in 2016.

Gillum introduced Sanders to the crowds at Friday's rallies.

"In Florida and across this county, we need a government that represents us -- not the 1 percent," Sanders said. "We need a government that brings us all together."

"We need a governor who doesn't need a scientist to tell him that climate change is real," Sanders said.

Gillum is campaigning for universal Medicare, a repeal of the stand your ground law, more restrictions on guns and a $15 minimum wage. 

Our Decision 2018 Exclusive Poll for the race, which was released this week, has Gillum polling at about 11 percent. That is 11 percentage points behind frontrunners Gwen Graham and Phillip Levine.  

But with an estimated 24 percent of those polled still undecided, Gillum is looking to court those voters. 

Gillum has also pulled in far less cash compared to his opponents. According to Florida Dept. of State report through Aug. 3, Gillum has gotten $1.8 million in contributions, and spent $1.7 million.

By comparison:

  • Gwen Graham: $5.2 million in contributions
  • Philip Levine: $2.3 million in contributions, plus a $13.5 million loan
  • Jeff Greene: $2,315 in contributions, plus a $22.4 million loan
  • Chris King: $2.3 million in contributions, plus a $4 million loan

“I am the only non-millionaire running, and no offense to them, but my experience better reflects the majority of everyday people living in Florida,” Gillum said. 

Early voting begins

Elsewhere in Orlando, Philip Levine spent time Thursday and Friday in Central Florida, appearing Friday at several early voting sites.

“This is the last line of defense, this run for governor,” Levine said. “If we want to get things done that we know is important, like having the safest gun laws in the country, making sure we have affordable housing or higher minimum wage, we’re going to do it by winning Florida." 

Levine is already positioning himself for an early acceptance speech, saying he believes the November run will come down to him against Republican rival Ron DeSantis.

Meanwhile, Nearly 800,000 Florida voters have already cast ballots in the state's crucial primary election.

The Florida Division of Elections website says that so far more than 739,000 voters have mailed in their ballots. More than 38,000 people have voted at early voting polling places.

Eighteen counties started early voting Monday, but the remaining counties in the state will begin early voting in the next three days.

Florida's primary is Aug. 28.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are squaring off in the Republican primary. 

Reporters Greg Angel, Julie Gargotta, David Jordan and Jason Lanning contributed to this report.