DeSantis accused Gillum and Democrats of trying to "obscure" the debate on policy differences between the two candidates by calling out what many, including Florida Democratic party chairman Terry Rizzo, saw as a classic racial dog whistle. Gillum has said he's not a target.
Gillum, who has called for Trump's impeachment, is the first African-American to win Florida's Democratic nomination for governor and his surprise win came against better-funded, more mainstream opponents.
When asked about the term, Gillum felt like it was a calculated tactic.
In Florida, there's now going to be a fascinating governor's race between one candidate who's backed by Bernie Sanders and another who's backed by Donald Trump. Gillum is the party's third black gubernatorial nominee this year, along with Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Ben Jealous in Maryland.
Gillum didn't make race an issue in the primary. "There are constituencies that Sen".
"He also suggested to the president: "@ me next time".
Indeed, changing the midterm electorate would upend a decades-long Florida trend of Democratic turnout dropping off precipitously in midterms. And it explains why Republicans have near absolute control of state government in Tallahassee.
DeSantis also came out fighting, criticizing Gillum as "way, way, way too liberal for the state of Florida".
On Tuesday evening, President Trump's endorsed candidate Ron DeSantis secured the Republican nomination in Florida's gubernatorial race.
"The results is clear: There is no blue wave in Florida", wrote Scott's Senate campaign manager Jackie Schultz Zeckman in a post-primary memo released publicly.
Gillum, meanwhile, relied on a grassroots campaign in the big-money Democratic primary.
"We're proud of the overall grassroots energy", said Maria Urbina, the political director for the national office of Indivisible, a group formed in opposition to Trump's election in 2016. Gillum, meanwhile, won 18 counties, including voter-rich Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach counties.
She described a statewide organization of "movement partners" - local Indivisible chapters and other groups like MoveOn.org - that she said will continue to add staff and volunteers to reach voters ahead of November. Gillum in his remarks to supporters on election night said he and supporters would seek to counter the "dark days that we've been under coming out of Washington".