DeSantis accepts Gavin Newsom’s debate offer after months of dodging: ‘Let’s get it done’

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis has accepted California Gov Gavin Newsom’s offer to debate him on Fox News.

The Republican presidential candidate accepted the challenge when appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Wednesday.

“Absolutely. I’m game,” he said. “Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”

In June, Hannity asked Mr Newsom whether he would agree to a debate with Mr DeSantis when he appeared on the Fox News programme.

“You would do a two-hour debate with Ron DeSantis?” Hannity asked.

“Make it three,” Mr Newsom, who has said he watches Fox News every night, said.

Mr DeSantis expanded on the proposal in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“The debate between California and Florida is already over. People have been voting with their feet for years,” he said. But the debate about the future of our country is one we need to have. I’m game to talk about my plans to reverse the decline in this country anytime, anywhere, because I have the best vision for the future of our country.”

A spokesman for Mr Newsom offered two dates for the debate.

“Governor Newsom has been challenging DeSantis to debate for months and sent him a formal debate offer last week. Nov 8 or 10 — DeSantis should put up or shut up,” the spokesman said. “Anything else is just games.”

In a letter, Mr Newsom’s team laid out a set of parameters. The letter stipulated the debate would be 90 minutes, moderated by Hannity, aired live and neither man would use any notes or prepared documents onstage. Staff would also not brief participants once the debate begins. The letter also proposed Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina as potential locations

Mr Newsom, an outspoken liberal and former mayor of San Francisco, has taken to needling Mr DeSantis despite ultimately deciding not to challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination for president. Conversely, Mr DeSantis has pointed to the fact California’s declining population inward migration to Florida shows that Californians prefer conservative policies.

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