The Slatest

Florida Democratic Star Andrew Gillum Was Present at Possible Overdose in Hotel

Police said the former gubernatorial candidate is not facing criminal charges.

Andrew Gillum speaks onstage during a conference on  February 20 in Los Angeles.
Andrew Gillum speaks onstage during a conference on February 20 in Los Angeles. Robin L Marshall/Getty Images

Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, was present in a Miami Beach hotel room as medical personnel treated a man likely suffering from a drug overdose on Friday morning.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue responded to a cardiac-arrest distress call around 1 a.m. at the Mondrian South Beach. Travis Dyson, 30, was treated and sent to Mount Sinai.

Gillum was a rising star within the Democratic Party. His bid for governor of Florida in 2018, which became “a local production of America’s ongoing psychodrama about race,” was historic. He was the first Black major-party gubernatorial candidate in Florida’s history. Some saw Gillum, who grew up deeply embedded in poor and working-class Black Southern culture, as a figure who expanded what was possible for Black politicians in high-level politics.

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He is currently a commentator for CNN and the leader of Forward Florida, a voter registration organization he created after losing the 2018 governor’s race to sitting Gov. Ron DeSantis by roughly 32,000 votes.*

According to the report, Aldo Mejias, the 56-year-old complainant, provided his credit card information to Dyson so that he could rent a hotel room for Thursday night, which he did around 4 p.m. Mejias arrived at the hotel just after 11 p.m. where he said he found Gillum and Dyson intoxicated by unknown substances. Dyson opened the door, went over to the bed and collapsed. He was having trouble breathing. When Mejias woke Dyson, he began vomiting and collapsed again. Mejias began performing chest compressions and called medical assistance while Gillum was in the bathroom vomiting.

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When officers arrived on the scene, the report said, Gillum was too inebriated to speak to them. He returned home without incident and he is not the subject of any criminal investigation.

Officers saw three baggies suspected of containing meth during a sweep of the hotel room.

“I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends,” Gillum said in a statement released on Friday. “While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines. I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement.”

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“I’m thankful to the incredible Miami Beach EMS team for their efforts. I will spend the next few weeks with my family and appreciate privacy during this time,” he added.

But Dyson told The Miami New Times that he has known Gillum since last year and was not aware of a wedding.

“I personally was not celebrating a wedding. I don’t know if [Gillum] was in town for a wedding,” said Dyson. “He did not mention that.”

Correction, March 16, 2020: The piece originally misstated that Ron DeSantis was the incumbent governor during the 2018 election. There was no incumbent during that election. 

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