Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Charlie Crist (D) debated each other for the first and only time last night as they compete to be the next governor of Florida.
Hard to see Crist going back to the "Ron is a divider" well after this response pic.twitter.com/BLRUu0IuM9
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) October 24, 2022
DeSantis enjoys a healthy lead over Crist in almost every poll, including an 11-point lead in the latest FAU poll and an 8-point lead in the latest FiveThirtyEight poll. The bottom line, to make this a race, Crist had to come out and win the debate decidedly.
Instead, it was DeSantis who came away with almost every memorable moment from the evening. Perhaps the most memorable moment can be seen in the video below:
One of the major points Crist tried to hit home during the debate was that DeSantis could not be an effective governor if his eyes were on the 2024 election.
“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 that if you’re reelected, you will serve a full four-year term as governor,” Crist said. “Yes or no? It’s not a tough question.”
DeSantis calmly waited as the rules of the debate were that DeSantis could not speak until it was his turn. As soon as the moderator asked DeSantis to answer, he said, “Listen, I know Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear. Listen, I know Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear.”
DeSantis is so far ahead in fundraising and in the polls that he has not been overly aggressive in campaigning against Crist, an opponent who has never really put up a fight. In fact, a few weeks ago the DeSantis campaign donated more than $2.5 to “down-ballot” Republicans, a sign that he has more money than he needs for this election cycle.
Crist could not debate DeSantis on the issues, so he focused almost solely on the fact that DeSantis, if elected, might not even be there for all four years.
“He won’t even tell you if he’ll serve four years if reelected,” Crist said, addressing Florida voters on Monday. “You deserve better than that. Florida deserves better than that.”
Voters will have to decide if they would prefer the possibility of two years of DeSantis or four years of Crist, and so far it seems like the choice is clear.