OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis tore into his Democratic opponent for suggesting that he will not serve a full four-year term as Florida’s governor if he wins the election on November 8.
During the first and only debate between DeSantis and Democrat Charlie Crist, DeSantis called Crist a “worn-out old donkey” and assured voters that he is focused on defeating the Democrat.
The race has drawn national attention amid rumors that DeSantis could run for president in 2024 or potentially join Donald Trump’s ticket if the former president decides to run.
Below is a transcript from Grabien:
CRIST: “Well, that’s interesting. I would agree with your wife. You should have done that the first year you were in office. I mean, aren’t you supposed to be helping us all four years instead of just the last year? And Ron, you talk about Joe Biden a lot, I understand, you think you’re gonna be running against them. I can see how you might get confused. But you’re running for governor. You’re running for governor. And I have a question for you. You’re running for governor. Why don’t you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them, if you’re reelected, you’ll serve a full four-year term as governor? Yes or no? Yes or no, Ron? Will you serve a full four-year term if you’re reelected governor of Florida? It’s not a tough question. It’s a fair question. He won’t tell you.”
MODERATOR: “We did not agree on the candidates asking each other questions. Governor, it’s your turn.”
DeSantis: “Well, listen, I know that Charlie’s interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just wanted to make things very, very clear. The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.
(Cheering and Applause)
You want to talk about — you want to talk about standing up for taxpayers? When Charlie Crist was governor, he ran saying he would not raise taxes. He became governor and he signed off on the largest increase in taxes and fees in the history of the state of Florida. We just enacted the largest decrease in taxes in the history of Florida.”
MODERATOR: “Thank you, governor. Congressman you have 30 seconds.”
CRIST: “Yeah, well, Ron, we know you love to bully people, and the little name-calling you just exchanged, I can take it, but you shouldn’t do it when children stand behind you at a press conference and they’re wearing a mask. But, apparently, that’s your nature and that’s too bad. So what we need to do on the economy is make sure that we’re focused on Florida. You know, he keeps talking about the Biden Administration this, the Biden administration that. This is the DeSantis administration and other the DeSantis administration the middle class is getting crunched in Florida. You can’t get an apartment, you can’t afford a house, you can’t pay your property insurance because he’s taken his eye off the ball over and over and over again.”
DeSantis is primed to win easily win re-election against Crist in November given he’s leading the Democrat by an average of 8 percentage points, according to election forecaster FiveThirtyEight.
After the debate, DeSantis was endorsed by the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“From keeping our state open for business to increasing workforce development, it’s clear why Florida workers are thriving. While other states locked people down, Florida lifted people up. We delivered the largest tax relief package in Florida’s history. We are working to blunt the impact of Bidenflation while protecting workers at every turn. I am grateful for the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s support,” DeSantis said.
Julio Fuentes President and CEO Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said: “Governor DeSantis is a leader who understands the needs of Florida’s small businesses and the people here who work hard every day. He has taken Florida through difficult times with a steady hand and given us all a reason to believe Florida’s future is bright. For these and many other reasons, we at the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are proud to endorse Gov. DeSantis for a second term as Governor of Florida.”