Florida’s Population Boom Sets Stage For DeSantis-Newsom Debate

As Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepared to take on Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a Fox News Channel debate this week, even the Los Angeles Times shared some statistics that could help the GOP governor make his case that his state has outperformed the Golden State in recent years.

DeSantis has long touted the fact that Florida’s population has been booming since he was elected even as California has — along with other Democratic-led states — seen its population numbers drop.

Much of Florida’s growth has come at the expense of California, whose residents have increasingly cited rising crime, an unaffordable cost of living, and far-left social policies as reasons to move to the more welcoming Sunshine State.

The Times spoke to 38-year-old Guerin Farley, who had lived in California for nearly a decade before relocating to Florida in September.

“What really, really unfortunately hit was my pocketbook,” he said. “Even if you’re making six figures in L.A., you’re barely scraping by.”

For his part, Newsom has attempted to convince Floridians to make the trek to his state, even spending money on campaign advertisements that aired last year and misrepresented the legislation endorsed by DeSantis and others in the GOP.

“Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors,” the California Democrat claimed. “I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love.”

While his message has resonated with a relatively small number of left-leaning Florida residents, the number of people who have left that state for California — about 29,000 last year — was just over half of the roughly 51,000 who made the opposite journey.

In total, California has lost about 500,000 residents since Newsom took office and Florida has added approximately 700,000 under DeSantis’ leadership.

These figures seem to support the Florida governor’s case that conservative ideals are more appealing to Americans than leftist ones, and could help him deliver a convincing argument against Newsom when the two square off in Georgia for a 90-minute debate on Thursday.

DeSantis has used his platform to advocate not only on behalf of his state but also his long-shot bid to clinch the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“If you look at the last four years, we’ve witnessed a great American exodus from states governed by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideology and delivering poor results,” he said.