Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D) took to the stage this evening for the only debate before the November 8th election. Ahead of the debate, Crist advertised that he would be holding DeSantis "accountable," and DeSantis warned that "Charlie Crist is dangerous for Florida" after the debate.
During the debate, both lawmakers traded verbal jabs on a number of topics including the economy, the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and the 2024 election among others. Although both campaigns had agreed to not ask each other questions, Crist pressed the governor over his speculated 2024 presidential run. Because the governor kept tying Crist to President Joe Biden (D), Crist argued that DeSantis' attention was not on the midterm election but instead on the 2024 election, arguing that DeSantis was looking forward to challenging the president. However, DeSantis retorted that “the only donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
On the subject of school closures, Crist argued that he was against school closures, but DeSantis countered by saying that Crist in fact supported school lockdowns, mentioning his running mate Karla Hernandez-Mats (D) and the teacher's union pushed to keep schools closed. Moreover, DeSantis vowed that there would be no more lockdowns and that the state would maintain a firm stance against a vaccine mandate.
“I lifted you up while some like Charlie Crist wanted to lock you down,” said DeSantis in his closing remarks as Crist repeated that Florida deserves a governor that will not be "divisive."
The debate was initially scheduled for October 12, but because of Hurricane Ian, it was pushed back to October 24th.
With Crist arguing that DeSantis does not support a woman's right to choose, has done everything in his power to make voting more difficult, and doesn't have the best interest of Floridians in his plans, DeSantis countered by arguing that Crist takes politically convenient positions that will help his political standing.