(TALLAHASSEE, Florida) – Former governor of Florida Governor Andrew Gillum announced on Sunday that he was entering a rehab facility. He had gotten into depression and alcohol abuse after losing his bid for the highest post in the state.
The Democrat's statement came days after Gillum was mentioned in a South Florida police report on Friday saying he was "drunk" and initially did not respond in a hotel room with a male companion in which the authorities said baggies found with suspicious crystal methamphetamine.
Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee, who ran for governor in 2018, was not charged with any crime. The Miami Beach police report said Gillum was allowed to leave the hotel after undergoing a medical exam.
In his statement on Sunday evening, Gillum said that he had decided to seek help after talking to his family and deep thought, and called the decision "a wake-up call for me".
"Since my race for the governor has ended, I have been in a depression that has led to alcohol abuse," he said, promising to work on "fully healing and emerging as a more complete person in the world" . He said he would resign from "all public roles" at this point.
"I would like to apologize to my family, friends and people in Florida who have supported and trusted me over the years," he added, asking for privacy for his family.
In a previous statement after the police report was released, Gillum said he was at a Miami Beach wedding and did not use illegal drugs.
"Although I've drunk too much, I want to make it clear that I've never used methamphetamines," said Gillum, 40, earlier. "I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction that has caused our movement."
According to the police, firefighters were called to the Miami Beach hotel around 1am on Friday for a suspected drug overdose. The police say Gillum and two other men were in the hotel room.
The police say one of the men came into the hotel room and apparently found Gillum and Travis Dyson, 30, under the influence of an “unknown substance”. Officials started breast compressions at Dyson and he was taken to a hospital, where authorities say he is in a stable condition.
Gillum had stable medical signs when the authorities returned to a social check and, according to the police report, were allowed to leave the hotel.
Gillum was the first black candidate in a major political party to run for governor in Florida. In the 2018 elections, he narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis. Since then, Gillum has made efforts to register Democratic voters in Florida and is a frequent political commentator on cable news channels.
In 2019, the Florida Ethics Committee identified a possible reason why Gillum was violating state ethics laws when he accepted gifts on excursions with lobbyists and vendors outside the city and did not report them. This included tickets for a performance of the musical "Hamilton". In this case, an agreement of USD 5,000 was reached.
Associate press clerk Curt Anderson contributed to this report.
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