California Gov. Gavin Newsom may finally get his long hoped-for chance to go toe-to-toe with his Florida nemesis, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis, appearing Wednesday night on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, agreed to debate Newsom.
“Absolutely, I’m game,” DeSantis responded when Hannity asked about the debate. “Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”
Hannity first proposed moderating a Fox News debate between the two governors when Newsom appeared on his show in June.
At the time, Newsom said he was “all in” and would be willing to spar with DeSantis for three hours. The California governor first challenged DeSantis on Twitter in September, following a suggestion from veteran journalist Dan Rather.
“Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives,” Newsom tweeted. “Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day.”
Nathan Click, a Newsom campaign adviser, said the California governor sent a formal debate offer to Fox News and DeSantis last week and floated Nov. 8 or 10 as potential dates.
“Desantis should put up or shut up,” Click said in a text message. “Anything else is just games.”
Hannity framed the debate as one that explores the “political and philosophical divides in this country.”
“You know, why is there mass immigration from blue states to the red ones?” Hannity asked Wednesday. “How do you reconcile a lot of these issues that are so important — you know, states with high income tax rates against states that have low income tax rates or none at all like in the case of Florida? What’s the difference between a sanctuary state and states that actually respect immigration laws?”
DeSantis’ willingness to debate Newsom comes at a time when his 2024 presidential campaign is floundering. Nearly all national polling shows him trailing former President Donald Trump by large margins, even as he has spent significant sums to raise his profile and Trump’s legal problems continue to deepen.
Going head-to-head with a Democrat who Republicans love to hate might give DeSantis a chance to reset his candidacy.
Hannity and DeSantis would prefer to see the GOP presidential nominee face someone like Newsom over President Joe Biden — even as the California governor continues to downplay his ambitions.
“You have people like Joe Biden, they would love to see the Californication of the United States,” DeSantis told Hannity. “Biden may not even be the nominee. You could have Gavin Newsom. You could have Kamala Harris.”
“And I think if we go down that direction, that’s going to accelerate American decline,” DeSantis added. “We can’t see America decline anymore. We need to reverse American decline.”
https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article277913883.html Ron DeSantis agrees to Gavin Newsom debate on Fox News