Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been positioning himself as a national political figure in recent years in what some pundits believe is a bid to build name recognition ahead of a likely presidential campaign.
One of the ways he has injected himself into issues not directly related to California is by frequently criticizing GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is currently polling at a distant second place among a crowded field of 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls.
Newsom has challenged his fellow governor to a debate, confirming in June that he would be ready to defend his far-left ideology on “one day’s notice with no notes.”
He offered his public challenge during an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, and DeSantis spoke to the same host recently to accept.
“Let’s get it done,” the Florida governor said. “Just tell me when and where we’ll do it.”
Since then, there is some evidence that Newsom is not as eager to participate in a debate as he previously claimed.
Whereas he previously asserted that he would only need one day to prepare, a list of dates on which he would be available to debate DeSantis does not begin for roughly three months. Despite his own insistence that any debate be postponed for several months, the Newsom camp felt emboldened enough to describe DeSantis as unprepared after reviewing the Florida governor’s terms.
Both sides agree to a 90-minute event moderated by Hannity during which both are given an equal amount of time to speak without interruptions. They also found common ground on issues including a two-minute closing statement and a prohibition on assistance from staffers.
— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) August 5, 2023
DeSantis, however, wants opening remarks to be replaced by a pre-recorded video. He is also calling for an audience, an idea Newsom has rejected.
“What a joke,” one Newsom spokesperson claimed. “Desantis’ counterproposal is littered with crutches to hide his insecurity and ineptitude — swapping opening statements with a hype video, cutting down the time he needs to be on stage, adding cheat notes and a cheering section. Ron should be able to stand on his own two feet. It’s no wonder Trump is kicking his ass.”
As for where a debate might take place, there is only one state — Georgia — that is on both governors’ lists of acceptable locations. While DeSantis wants to hold the debate much sooner than Newsom, he has agreed to the earliest date on the California governor’s list.