Former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is entering rehab. Just days after Miami Beach police say they found Gillum inebriated in a South Beach hotel room, the former Florida gubernatorial candidate says it’s time to “firmly focus on myself and my family” and seek treatment for alcohol abuse.
Gillum has been seen as a rising star in the Democratic party, with some even lifting the FAMU grad up as a potential running mate for the presidential primary winner. But on Friday morning, the political correspondent for CNN was found with two other men, one of which was experiencing an overdose from crystal meth, in room 1107 at the South Beach Mondrian.
According to the Miami Herald, police found three bags of suspected crystal meth throughout the suite. Gillum firmly denied partaking in the illegal substance. None of the men involved in the incident were arrested.
“Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse,” Gillum said in a statement released Sunday night. “I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
Gillum’s step away from the spotlight comes during a time when he was working vigorously to combat voter suppression and get 1 million voters signed up to be participants in the Democratic process. In December, after his voter registration organization, Florida Forward, endorsed more than 20 Democrats in legislative cases, Gillum vowed to campaign for the down-ballot candidates and also offered monetary support.
In his Sunday night statement, Gillum acknowledged the people in his life that he may have disappointed.
“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 continued, “I ask that you respect my and my family’s privacy during this time. Thank you.”