Posted by on November 21, 2023 2:40 pm
Categories: News The Hill

DeSantis-Newsom debate: What we know about Red vs. Blue state live event

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom are slated to go head-to-head on the debate stage next week, a culmination of months of rising tensions between the two.

The long-teased event, hosted by Fox News, marks a climax in the ongoing feud between the governors, with Newsom criticizing DeSantis for sending migrants to California and the Florida governor taking aim at Newsom for people leaving California to move to Florida. The debate, which Fox is calling “DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate,” will be moderated by leading prime-time pundit Sean Hannity, who hopes to provide viewers with an “informative debate” centered around issues that impact every American.

Here’s what we know about the debate and the tumultuous journey it took materialize.

When and where the live event will take place

The debate will air on Fox during Hannity’s 9 p.m. prime-time program on Nov. 30 and span 90 minutes.

The debate will be broadcast live from Alpharetta, Ga., but will not feature an audience in attendance, which Fox said will allow the governors equal opportunity to respond to and address each issue.

How the debate came to be

This combination of photos shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaking in Sacramento, Calif., on June 24, 2022, left, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking in Sioux Center, Iowa, May 13, 2023, right. (AP Photo)

A feud between the two governors has been simmering for more than a year.

Newsom initially challenged DeSantis to a debate in September 2022, after the Florida governor chartered two planes of migrants that landed in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., sparking outrage from Democrats. In an interview with Hannity in June, Newsom also agreed to a debate with DeSantis moderated by the Fox News host.

“I’m all in. Count on it,” Newsom told Hannity at the time.  

A spokesperson for Newsom told The Hill that the California governor has been “challenging DeSantis to debate for months,” adding that Newsom sent DeSantis a formal debate offer.

Eventually, DeSantis officially accepted the challenge in August.

“Absolutely. I’m game, let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where,” DeSantis told Hannity.

Strategists across the political spectrum see the debate as an opportunity for both governors to gain visibility and establish themselves as the future of their respective parties.

The debate comes as DeSantis seeks to gain traction among GOP voters and establish himself as a legitimate challenger to former President Trump, who has a sizable lead among his competitors in most GOP primary polls.

At the same time, Democrats say that Newsom is increasingly being viewed as a leading candidate in the 2028 presidential race or even as a possible alternative to President Biden if he backs out of the 2024 race.

What to expect from the live event

Fox said the goal of the event is to “examine the vastly different approaches the two governors have and offer insights into their political philosophies as well as ambitions for the nation.” Hannity will highlight issues in each state, “including the economy, the border, immigration, crime, and inflation,” the network said.

In a statement issued through the network in September, Hannity said he is “looking forward to providing viewers with an informative debate about the everyday issues and governing philosophies that impact the lives of every American.”

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