DeSantis wins tense Florida gubernatorial debate against Gillum, Trump claims

DeSantis wins tense Florida gubernatorial debate against Gillum, Trump claims

It was not the beginning of a lovely friendship. Calling Gillum incompetent, he again praised DeSantis, saying he will build on Scott's success.

Overall, Gillum, despite a few moments of overly defensive talk, came off as the more polished and thoughtful speaker. A great Congressman and top student at Harvard & Yale, Ron will be a record setting governor for Florida.

This stands in sharp contrast with a CNN/SSRS poll released on Sunday afternoon before that network televised a debate between the two candidates.

"You need to be able to work with the president", DeSantis said. "It also makes no sense to use this sampling when you can buy Florida's voter file and voting history files for $10 and weight to those voter-level characteristics", added Lawson.

Voters will decide between Gillum and DeSantis on November 6.

Gillum ignored the question and focused on DeSantis's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and protections in the law for people with pre-existing conditions. Florida is one of several states suing to overturn that provision.

At a campaign stop on Friday, Gillum, the young progressive mayor of Tallahassee, predicted the Republican former congressman would hit him low and hard - then warned he was prepared to return the favor.

In the governor's race, the CNN poll conducted Tuesday through Saturday shows Gillum with support from 54 percent of likely voters to 42 percent for DeSantis.

"Would you sign the bill for single-payer healthcare?"

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DeSantis strongly denied that his comment was about race, asserting that "Floridians can know that I'll be a governor for all Floridians".

Meanwhile, DeSantis has accused Gillum - the mayor of Tallahassee - of embracing socialism and being corrupt, pointing to his support for Medicare for All and the ongoing FBI investigation into Tallahassee city government, an investigation that has not implicated Gillum in any wrongdoing so far.

DeSantis ignored the comment and kept the heat on Gillum, repeatedly pressing him about who paid for a trip to Costa Rica and a ticket to the Broadway musical Hamilton. Gillum, the first African American gubernatorial nominee from either major party, said, "I don't take free trips from anybody". "I know that may not fit your description of what you think people like me do".

Debate moderator Jake Tapper brought up the racial controversies halfway through the one-hour matchup.

DeSantis said Gillum's plan would cause electric rates to "skyrocket". He then pointed to his record in the U.S. Navy as evidence he isn't prejudiced.

"It has zero to do with race", DeSantis said during the firestorm that followed.

Though his upset victory in the primary was driven by an endorsement from President Donald Trump, DeSantis sought to keep some space from the President, never quite answering whether he considered Trump a good "role model", and instead talking up the administration's decision to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "We're known as the Sunshine State, at the very least what we can do is be a global leader here". DeSantis referenced his pro-Trump campaign ad, then immediately pivoted from the "role model" angle to Trump's moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Twenty days before Election Day, Democrat Andrew Gillum is at 47 percent, while Republican Ron DeSantis is at 46.

DeSantis also addressed accusations that he has sought to inject race into the campaign. The IRS has pushed back the deadline for Panhandle residents until early next year due to Hurricane Michael. "Originally I got confused", he said, laughing along with members of the audience.

In his closing remarks, DeSantis argued he would carry the mantle from the state's economic recovery under Scott. "I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt", he said. "Well I reject that".

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