TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida candidate for governor Andrew Gillum disclosed Sunday that he is entering a rehabilitation facility, saying he had fallen into a depression and alcohol abuse after losing his bid for the state’s highest post.
The Democrat’s statement came days after Gillum was named in a South Florida police report Friday that said he was “inebriated” and initially unresponsive in a hotel room along with a male companion where authorities found baggies of suspected crystal methamphetamine.
Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor 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 for home after he was checked out medically.
Gillum said in his statement Sunday night that he resolved to seek help after conversations with his family and deep reflection, calling the decision “a wake-up call for me.”
“Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse,” he said, pledging to work to “heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
He said he would be stepping down from “all public facing roles” at this time.
“I want to apologize to my family, friends and the people of Florida who have supported me and put their faith in me over the years,” he added, requesting privacy for his family.
In an earlier statement after the police report became public, Gillum said that he was in Miami Beach for a wedding and did not use illegal drugs.
“While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines,” Gillum, 40, said earlier. “I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused for our movement.”
According to police, fire rescue crews were called to the Miami Beach hotel around 1 a.m. Friday regarding a suspected drug overdose. Police say Gillum and two other men were in the hotel room.
“Mr. Gillum was unable to communicate due to his inebriated state,” the police report said.
Police say one of the men came into the hotel room and found Gillum and Travis Dyson, 30, apparently under the influence of an “unknown substance.” Officials began chest compressions on Dyson and he was taken to a hospital, where authorities say he is in stable condition.
Gillum had stable medical signs when authorities returned for a welfare check and was allowed to leave the hotel for home, according to the police report.
Gillum was the first black nominee in a major political party to run for governor in Florida. He lost narrowly to Republican Ron DeSantis in the 2018 election.
Since then, Gillum has mounted an effort to register Democratic voters in Florida and frequently appears on cable news channels as a political commentator.
In 2019, the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Gillum violated state ethics laws when he accepted gifts during out-of-town excursions with lobbyists and vendors and failed to report them. This included tickets to a performance of the musical “Hamilton.” A settlement of $5,000 was agreed to in that case.
Associated Press writer Curt Anderson contributed to this report.