DeSantis, Crist to hold first, only debate Monday evening
MIAMI - The Florida gubernatorial debate between incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Democratic rival, former US Rep. Charlie Crist , postponed due to Hurricane Ian, is on for Monday, October 24, at 7 p.m.
DeSantis and Crist were originally scheduled to debate in Fort Pierce on October 12, but it had to be postponed due to Hurricane Ian.
"This debate is important," said Crist. "Florida voters deserve a chance to hear from both candidates in the race to determine who will lead our state for the next four years. Voters also deserve to hear Gov. DeSantis defend his extremist anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-freedom agenda."
There has been limited interaction between the two candidates in the weeks since Crist secured his party's nomination for governor over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in a late August primary.
Since the primary, Crist has barnstormed the state in an effort to take down the incumbent, focusing on DeSantis' actions to limit abortion access and the rising cost of living in Florida. His efforts, though, have been limited by Ian and tepid fundraising.
DeSantis has mostly eschewed a traditional reelection schedule. He has more often hit the campaign trail for Republican candidates in battlegrounds outside of Florida than for himself within the state, while using his mammoth fundraising advantage to flood the state's airwaves with ads recounting his first term as governor. He also makes regular appearances in his official capacity in all corners of the Sunshine State, often delivering checks for local projects or previewing his second-term agenda.
"Front runners have been successful in avoiding debates in many cases and I think that's helped someone like DeSantis who's a good communicator in a press conference but maybe not necessarily when he's getting tough questions from a moderator," said Dr. Sean Foreman, a professor of political science at Barry University.
He said we likely won't see DeSantis and Crist being aggressive with each other during their time at the podium.
"I'm not sure if we'll get a tough aggressive stance from Crist 'cause that's not in his nature, he's known as the happy warrior, he doesn't like to go negative. If he does, it's sort of passive-aggressive. And, for DeSantis you know, again, he's not used to taking tough questions from the media, he's pretty much had a pass as his time as governor from accountability in tough questions," said Foreman
Through the end of September, DeSantis had $106 million on hand to Crist's $5 million.
Monday's debate will be live streamed and televised by CBSMiami.com
for more features.