Andrew Gillum Stomped Ron DeSantis in Sunday Night's CNN Debate

Elias Hubbard
October 22, 2018

From the beginning of the hour-long debate, it was clear there is little common ground between these two men, each of whom rose from obscurity and the activist wings of their respective parties to become unlikely gubernatorial nominees.

"The charge of racism has lingered around DeSantis, a former congressman from Northeast Florida, after he used the phrase "monkey this up" to describe the impact of Gillum's policies on the economy, and persisted thanks to a series of questionable associations, including a major donor who called President Barack Obama a "-- Muslim --".

DeSantis denied claims he denies the science behind the issue, saying, "I don't want to be an alarmist".

Voters will decide between Gillum and DeSantis on November 6.

On healthcare, neither candidate appeared willing to stand by previous positions.

Gillum ignored the question and focused on DeSantis's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and protections in the law for people with pre-existing conditions. Florida is one of several states suing to overturn that provision. DeSantis opposes that, but has not yet released a health care plan of his own. "You shouldn't have to kiss the ring of the president of the United States for the president to see to the goodwill of the third largest state in all of America", Gillum said. "So far as I know, I will die black".

It wasn't the only time DeSantis directly challenged Gillum. In the course of the investigation, Gillum once unknowingly attended the Broadway hit musical "Hamilton" in the company of an undercover agent.

Adding insult to injury, DeSantis ducked accusations of racism despite his rhetoric revealing the opposite and repeatedly lied about Gillum's record, including an embellished and disproven report about Tallahassee's murder rate.

The back and forth about corruption was one of the testier exchanges in a debate that had plenty.

"That's what I thought", Gillum said, drawing laughter from the audience. I'm a hard-working person. "And the truth is, you know what?" Moderator Jake Tapper asked DeSantis if he felt that Trump was a "good role model" for American's children.

DeSantis discussed the President's work to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

While Gillum often skirted DeSantis' questions, DeSantis didn't always answer Tapper.

Though his upset victory in the primary was driven by an endorsement from President Donald Trump, DeSantis sought to keep some space from the President, never quite answering whether he considered Trump a good "role model", and instead talking up the administration's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "He's not the guy to lead our state".

Gillum and DeSantis also scuffled on the economy and race.

Polls have consistently showed the race effectively tied or with Gillum slightly ahead, not surprising in a purple state with a recent history of especially close gubernatorial elections. Twenty days before Election Day, Democrat Andrew Gillum is at 47 percent, while Republican Ron DeSantis is at 46.

"(DeSantis) is going to call me a socialist.

Gillum said doing what's best for the state shouldn't be about politics, noting that he's worked closely with Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, which left most of Tallahassee without power. We can dissent, we can disagree and where it comes to working together, we can do that too.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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