BIG: Ron DeSantis Accepts Invitation to Debate Gavin Newsom

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

While it doesn’t look like Donald Trump will show up at the first GOP primary debate, Ron DeSantis is now set to face a different debate challenge. The Florida governor, while appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, officially accepted an invitation to debate Gavin Newsom.


When asked by Hannity what his answer was to Newsom’s offer, DeSantis responded: “Absolutely, I’m game.”

“Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where we’ll do it,” DeSantis said as the audience cheered. “In one respect, the debate between California and Florida has already been had, as you suggest, people have been voting on that, they’ve been voting on it with their feet, they have fled California in record numbers.”

“Florida has been the number one state for net in-migration,” DeSantis continued. “We have the number one ranked economy, number one now in education, crime rate at a 50-year-low. But in another sense, this is the debate for the future of our country because you have people like Joe Biden, they would love to see the Californication of the United States.”

Newsom has spent the last year or so attacking DeSantis, insisting that California is the more freedom-friendly state for residents and businesses alike. The numbers, including emigration figures from California, don’t support that, and DeSantis will have a chance to defend Florida in person. He’ll have plenty of material to work with if he comes well-prepared.


Whether it’s smart for DeSantis to engage with Newsom is an open question (DeSantis has previously rebuffed demands for a debate), but with the GOP presidential candidate needing to boost his campaign, he’s likely looking to show he can face down the best the Democrats have to offer and come out victorious. It’s a risk, but it’s one that could pay off if DeSantis performs under pressure.

No matter what, it’s sure to be an entertaining endeavor. That is unless Newsom has been bluffing this whole time.


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