Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) are set to square off in a high-profile debate that could shape the future of American policy Thursday. The two governors represent some of the most far-reaching policy differences and the possibility that one or both could be serious White House contenders.
The event, entitled DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate will air on Fox News and will be moderated by the channel’s popular host Sean Hannity.
DeSantis said that his counterpart “caters to a very far left slice of the electorate.”
— Team DeSantis (@TeamDeSantis) November 25, 2023
Newsom retorted that he didn’t “like people who demonize other people or go after vulnerable communities. I also don’t like liars.”
The debate follows an ad campaign Newsom launched in Florida last year, stating that “freedom” was “under attack” in the state.
Meanwhile, DeSantis called San Francisco a “dumpster fire.” Newsom had earlier served as the city’s mayor.
The two governors will likely compare their records in each state. California has among the highest taxes in the nation and the most stringent business regulations. It is also among the top states that residents are leaving.
California also has seen a significant increase of crime since 2020, including a rash of retail thefts and burglaries in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.
On the other hand, Florida has enjoyed significant population and economic growth during DeSantis’ tenure. The Sunshine State regularly ranks among the top states that Americans are moving to and currently enjoys a large budget surplus.
While Newsom has not announced a bid for the White House, concern is growing in Democratic Party circles that President Joe Biden is too old for the job. Newsom’s name has quietly been floated as a potential future candidate, especially with concerns that Vice President Kamala Harris may not be up to the task.
Furthermore, DeSantis has gained significant attention in his bid for the 2024 Republican nomination. However, since launching his campaign earlier this year, DeSantis has lost significant support compared to former President Donald Trump, who now leads every major national poll by a large margin.