OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been declared the winner of the gubernatorial Republican primary.
DeSantis, who ran unopposed, is one of the most popular governors in the country and is favored to win re-election in November.
As of this posting, the Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary has not yet been called, so it’s unclear who DeSantis will face off against in the general election.
In tonight's primaries, a hostile New York contest pits two House members against each other, while Florida Democrats choose a DeSantis challenger. Follow live updates https://t.co/1ymOU5hbts
— Tony Montana (@TownyMontana) August 23, 2022
A poll last week found that DeSantis is leading both potential Democrat challengers — Rep. Charlie Crist and Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried — in this year’s governor’s race.
DeSantis leads Crist in a head-to-head matchup by eight percentage points — 51 percent to Crist’s 43 percent.
Fried, too, fails to best DeSantis, as the governor leads 50 percent to her 43 percent support:
During an interview Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, DeSantis spoke about Fried and did not mince his words about her far-left views and what that would mean for Florida.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
DOOCY: “Charlie Crist, who you’ve got something in common with, you are a Republican governor, he was a Republican governor once upon a time in Florida. You have Cadance Daniel, you have Robert Willis, and you have Nikki Fried who, listen to this, governor, in this soundbite, I don’t think she likes you.”
FRIED: “We want to talk about democracy and freedom, because as our governor continues to talk about freedom, he is taking away a woman’s right to choose, he’s taking away freedom of speech. He’s taking away our opportunities to teach in our classrooms. That is not freedom. That’s oppression. And I know that we are going to see a November, we are going to see the tyranny and the tyrant of Ron DeSantis…”
DOOCY: “You say it’s freedom, she says it’s oppression, governor.”
DeSantis: “Yeah, Steve, you talk to Floridians who have been here for a long time, people that have come over the last few years, the reason why they are doing that, the reason why they are happy with Florida is because we protected their freedoms. We stood in the way of lockdowners like Nikki Fried who opposed every decision I made to protect people’s rights. And when she says you don’t have freedom of speech in the classroom, understand what she means. She wants to use our schools to indoctrinate students into her ideology. And our position on schools is that the purpose of the school system to educate kids, not to indoctrinate kids. So, yes, we oppose things like Critical Race Theory in our K-12 schools. We want to teach accurate history, we want to teach American civics, and we want to make sure that parents have confidence sending their kids to school, that schools are going to be focused on the core academic subjects and not try to inject left-wing ideology into the curriculum.”
KILMEADE: “You do have a teacher shortage. I know you talked about maybe using veterans to do it. But I think one of the big things in Florida the pay is so low. What are you doing about the pay?”
DeSantis: “Well, Brian, since I have been governor, we just did the largest pay increase for teachers that we have ever had in Florida. When I became governor, the average minimum salary was just over 40,000. With the budget we just signed, it’ll now be over 48,000. So we are in the top 10 for average minimum salary. If you talk about recruiting teachers, you know, that’s what you would want to do. I would also just point out that Florida per capita teacher vacancies are less than the national average and much less than states like California. You wouldn’t necessarily know that from the media because they tend to only focus on Florida with things. I wonder why that is. So I think we have been very smart to have gone after the average minimum salary, to raise that over the last couple of years. I do think it’s paid dividends. I think you will continue to see it pay dividends. But we are very proud we put that effort into teacher compensation.”