After weeks of negotiations, a 90-minute debate between Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity will take place on the Fox News Channel on November 30 in Georgia. The specific location has not been announced yet.
Hannity hosted Newsom on his Fox program back in June, where he proposed the idea of the governors engaging in a debate. “I’m all in. Count on it,” Newsom told Hannity at the time. DeSantis responded a month later to Hannity that he was up for the event as well.
The two lawmakers represent two of the three biggest states in the country (Texas is second behind California in population) and are completely on opposite sides of the political spectrum. DeSantis has presided over Florida moving from a swing state to one now considered solidly red, while Democrats control all levers of power in California under Newsom, the former Mayor of San Francisco and Lieutenant Governor in California.
Both men were elected in 2018 and reelected in 2022, though Newsom had to survive a recall election in 2021.
The two men have taken shots at each other for years, and they both traveled cross country to denounce each other this year.
DeSantis criticized Newsom’s handling of the pandemic in an appearance at the Reagan Library in Southern California in March, and Newsom blasted DeSantis when speaking to a group of students and faculty at the New College of Florida campus in Sarasota a month later.
Speaking to Newsmax in an interview on Monday, DeSantis said he looked forward to the event, but said that the debate between which state is better was already “over.”
DeSantis said in the interview that California had lost “massive amounts of population,” though he did not provide statistics.
That said, California still has the largest population in the United States, which is about 39 million. But it did lose 600,000 people between January 2020 to July 2022, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
–Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix