Six ways Gavin Newsom will have to defend California in debate against Ron DeSantis

David Lightman, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

Imagine if the country became as much of a mess as California, says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

That’s the sort of broadside likely to be coming Gov. Gavin Newsom’s way Thursday night as he engages DeSantis in a 90-minute debate on Fox News Channel.

They’re primed to fight over which state is safer, has better schools, deals most effectively with immigrants, offers residents more personal freedom and has a lower cost of living.

The California governor, DeSantis told “Fox and Friends” last week, has caused “a mass exodus out of the state. You’ve really seen cities collapse there. That is what he would want to do for this entire country. And it would accelerate the collapse we’ve seen under Joe Biden. So, the stakes are really high for America.”

DeSantis, 45, a Republican candidate for president, also has been saying that Newsom is eyeing a 2024 campaign for the White House. Newsom, 56, has been a strong Biden supporter and repeatedly said he’s not interested in running next year.

But this debate showcases two big-state governors who are likely to be important players for years to come. Both have taken the steps that presidential candidates — both declared and wishful — historically take: Raise lots of money, win big in their big states and court national attention.


Newsom vs. DeSantis

Here are some of the issues likely to come up Thursday:

▪ Crime. It’s hard to discern which state wins this argument.

California had nine firearm-related deaths per 100,000 people in 2021, among the lowest rates in the nation. Florida had 14.1 per 100,000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.


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