Andrew Gillum Squares Off with GOP Opponent
Florida gubernatorial candidate Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum squared off with his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, in a rapid-fire, one-hour debate. Gillum accused DeSantis of being a foot soldier for Donald Trump’s agenda, calling the former Congressman an “acolyte” to the president. “Donald Trump is weak and he performs as all weak people do,” Gillum said. “They become bullies.” DeSantis tried to cast himself as a law-and-order candidate, repeatedly raising his tenure in the Navy, his experience as a prosecutor, and his endorsements from sheriffs. Meanwhile, Gillum defended his record in Tallahassee City Hall, saying that the state capital’s overall crime rate was going down, and vowing to build cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect. On immigration, DeSantis stressed the need to detain and deport undocumented immigrants that commit crimes in Florida. Gillum called for comprehensive immigration reform and hit Congress for failing to pass legislation to address the matter holistically. DeSantis, who has spoken at conferences affiliated with white supremacist and was an administrator of a Facebook page promoting racist memes, was forced to confront racist comments he made about Gillum when he went on Fox News and warned Floridians not to "monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda" by voting for Gillum, who stands to be the state's first African American Governor. Gillum managed to raise the issue of healthcare and highlighted that DeSantis has not released a healthcare policy plan during the campaign. The pair differed not only on their polar opposite policy positions, but also on matters of integrity and character. Most polls suggest the race is effectively tied, as is typical in the battleground state. Watch the full debate here.