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FACT CHECK: Democratic gubernatorial debate

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WINK News hosted the Democratic gubernatorial debate Wednesday night where the five candidates squared off on their competing visions for Florida.

“I am the only non-millionaire running for governor,” said Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum. “Well non millionaire and non billionaire.”

Gillum drew a contrast between himself and his wealthy opponents — we checked his financial disclosure statement and found this claim is true. Gillum’s net worth is valued around $330,000.

Meanwhile billionare Jeff Greene showed himself as the public education advocate, painting a bleak picture of Florida schools.

“You know that fourth graders at public schools in Florida, only 48 percent are doing fourth grade math,” Greene said.

WINK News checked that claim also and found the Greene referenced statistics from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

His numbers are accurate, but the FSA test shows about 62 percent of fourth-graders are doing math at grade level: that’s a 14 percent difference.

Philip Levine leaned on his record as the former mayor of Miami Beach.

“We passed minimum living wage so people could live,” Levine said. “Unfortunately our governor stopped us, and that’s why I’m running for governor.”

It’s true that the Miami Beach City Commission approved a $10.31 minimum wage in 2016, but an appeals judge later ruled it’s a violation of a state law for a city to declare its own minimum wage. The measure never took effect.

Some candidates running for gov. tout plans to curb gun violence

The debate included their plans to curb gun violence. But would those plans be possible in practice?

In a crowded field of democratic candidates, guns took center stage during the debate at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I’ve heard I’m going to be sued by the NRA, and if they sue me, I say bring it on!” said former congresswoman Gwen Graham.

Two candidates in particular laid out aggressive plans to curb gun violence.

Graham promised to crack down on assault style weapons.

“I have already developed an executive order that allows the governor —whoever she is— to sign an executive order banning the sale of military style assault weapons,” Graham said.

WINK News acquired a copy of the executive order draft from the Graham campaign dated Inauguration Day 2019.

Pamella Seay, an attorney and professor of justice studies at FGCU, said Graham’s plan is possible, but not necessarily a lasting solution.

“Of course it’s legal,” Seay said. “Until it’s challenged and proven in court to say if it’s constitutional or not.”

Orlando businessman Chris King also laid out what he touted as the most “aggressive plan” to curb gun violence, or what others are calling a “bullet tax.”

“Which would take tax sales revenues from guns and ammunition and add a new safety fee and create an ongoing revenue source to invest in the best school safety programs,” King said.

But Seay said she thinks the N.R.A. would challenge the plan, and she doesn’t see it holding up in court.

“I’m saying that’s probably not a promise he can keep,” Seay said. “If there is an additional tax that is strictly on weapons and ammunition, I think he’s going to have a problem. And I don’t think that will pass muster constitutionally.”