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It's on! DeSantis tells Sean Hannity he'll debate Newsom on Fox News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom | Shuttestock

August 3, 2023 9:01am

Updated: August 3, 2023 9:01am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday accepted California Governor Gavin Newson’s challenge to a debate. 

“Absolutely,” DeSantis said during Sean Hannity’s Fox News. “I’m game. Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where.”

The two governors have repeatedly sparred over a range of policy issues, ranging from gun control and abortion, to book bans. DeSantis, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, has gained fame for being “anti-woke” and tough on immigration. Meanwhile, Newsom, a Democrat who has signed extensive climate measures and has fought to make his state a sanctuary for people seeking abortions. 

In light of their clashing political opinions, Newsom proposed the debate during Hannity’s program in June and then sent a letter to Fox News last week outlining the proposed terms of the debate. 

Newsom requested that the debate take place on November 8 or 10 in either Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina with no studio audience to focus “on the impact of their representation at the state level.”

Last year, Gov. Newsom launched an ad campaign targeting Florida’s governor, in which he urged residents of the Sunshine State to pack up and move to California. 

While the 30-second ad does not mention Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by name, Newsome's ad takes aim at several of his administration's policies.

“Freedom is under attack in your state,” Newsom says. “Republican leaders — they are banning books. Making it harder to vote. Restricting speech in classrooms. Even criminalizing women and doctors.”

DeSantis’ team and other Florida officials responded to Newsom’s attack by showing pictures of California’s homeless encampments and dirty beaches. 

“Gavin Newsom might as well light a pile of cash on fire,” said campaign spokesman Dave Abrams in a statement. “Pass the popcorn for his desperate attempt to win back the California refugees who fled the hellhole he created in his state to come to Florida."