DeSantis agrees to debate Newsom on Fox News

The two Governors have sparred for years over their differing approach. Now, they’ll go toe-to-toe on Fox News.

Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gavin Newsom of California have tentatively agreed to participate in a debate hosted by Fox News.

The two governors have repeatedly clashed on policies in their respective states, dating back to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.


Driving the news: The debate challenge comes as DeSantis currently trails former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, while Newsom has been positioning himself as a super surrogate for President Joe Biden with many Democrats openly musing that he may yet enter the 2024 contest.

  • After months of attempts by Newsom to entice DeSantis to join him on a debate stage, DeSantis agreed during an appearance on Fox News’ Sean Hannity, saying “Absolutely I’m game. Just tell me when and where.”
  • An aide to Newsom confirmed that the governor was also in.
  • The proposed debate would be moderated by Sean Hannity and would last 90 minutes without an in-studio audience. It would air live on Fox News, with proposed dates of November 8 or November 10. Newsom’s office has proposed three separate debate sites: Nevada, Georgia, or North Carolina.

A varied approach to governing: In their respective states, the two governors have implemented vastly different policies on various issues, making this debate even more anticipated.

  • A debate would be unprecedented in modern presidential politics, and would provide an opportunity for DeSantis to contrast his record in Florida and give Newsom a chance to defend attacks about his progressive policies and President Biden’s record.
  • This debate offers a new venue for DeSantis, who has spent several weeks dealing with process stories about layoffs, tightened campaign budgets, and nervous GOP donors.
  • For Newsom, it puts the weight of his political party on his shoulders under a national spotlight brighter than he’s experienced before.

A word from the other side: In response to DeSantis’ acceptance, a Newsom aide said, “DeSantis should put up or shut up. Anything else is just games.” If the debate goes forward, it will be interesting to see the two governors go head-to-head and make their cases to the American people.

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