A politically divided crowd watched the two candidates come out swinging hard, sometimes viciously, with allegations of race-baiting and ethics-lacking corruption outshining actual policy differences.
If Gillum, a progressive wins, he will be the first African American governor in the state's history.
"On Nov. 6, we have an opportunity to retire Mr. DeSantis once and for all", Gillum said.
The letter says, "After learning of this organization's disturbing and anti-law enforcement position and statements, we believe that any candidate wishing to lead our state should in no way be aligned with this radical group". DeSantis, a former three-term Republican congressman, seemed rattled over questions about his associations with far-right groups.
He added that Rep. DeSantis was educated at Harvard.
Gillum was joined at the event by U.S. Sen.
"My grandmother used to say, "A hit dog will holler, ' and it hollered through this room", he said, spelling out letter by letter the slur DeSantis" donor used.
UVA defeats archrival North Carolina 31-21 at Scott Stadium
On Friday, the team hosts its first and only home event of the fall portion of the season with SC visiting Koury Natatorium. Virginia got things starts in the first half when it scored on the first drive of the game before UNC tied it up 7 to 7.
Trump's dig seemed aimed at revelations that Gillum accepted tickets to "Hamilton," an award-winning Broadway musical, from an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent probing public corruption in the state capital.
'I didn't take free trips from anybody, ' Gillum shot back, without answering directly. "Awesome news about Hamilton".
Gillum repeated his explanation that, at the time, he assumed his brother Marcus had paid for the Hamilton ticket, by trading it for a Jay-Z concert ticket.
Gillum told NBC that when he arrived at the theater, his brother handed him the ticket. "Florida has 99 problems, and Hamilton ain't one of them". "Tallahassee got something. That's the definition of bribery".
DeSantis stopped in Melbourne to talk with meet with campaign volunteers. DeSantis said, his voice rising.
"Low-earning people are going to be hurt the most", DeSantis said. "Andrew supports a single-payer plan which will force people off Medicare, force people off their employer plans and put them on a government-run single-payer plan that is wrong". What I've tried to do throughout this whole process is be as open and transparent as I possibly can be.
When the subject of guns and February's Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, which killed 17 and wounded 17 others, Gillum repeated his plan to ban assault weapons. "The "monkey up" comment said it all", Gillum said.
DeSantis, who has made it a point of pride that he marches in lockstep with Trump, has been following the president's playbook while campaigning in the state.