Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not revealed whether he will run for president after accusing Democratic challenger Charlie Christ of being too preoccupied with his 2024 White House run.
During Florida's first and only re-election debate, the 66-year-old congressman and former governor, Christo, said amid mounting speculation about the upcoming presidential election, Mr. DeSantis said he was facing many challenges, including rising housing costs and insurance premiums. said they were facing factors of "I lost track of the ball," he said of the issue of The 2024 Republican primary.
Crist said DeSantis has focused on divisive policies aimed at winning national support from Republicans, including restrictions on abortion, curbs on how gender and race are taught in schools, and immigration.
“Why don’t you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them, if you’re re-elected, you will serve a full four-year term as governor, yes or no?” Crist said, drawing applause and ridicule from the audience.
DeSantis, 44, declined to answer, saying that Crist's "100%" endorsement of President Joe Biden was due to Crist's failure to immigrate, especially in the South, causing the worst inflation in 40 years.
“I know that Charlie’s interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very clear,” DeSantis said. “The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
Crist faces some tough odds. DeSantis has maintained a steady poll lead since Crist won his late August Democratic primary. DeSantis led Crist by 8.1 points on Monday, according to FiveThirtyEight poll averages. Since Oct. 10 he is up 6.7 points.
The most recent poll, for Telemundo/LX News, showed DeSantis ahead of Crist by a 51% to 44% margin among Hispanic voters, a group that’s long leaned Democratic in Florida. The Oct. 17 to 20 polls of 625 registered Hispanic voters across Florida, by Mason-Dixon Polling.
DeSantis also has a money advantage. As of January 2021, he has raised a record $164 million in funding, mostly from wealthy donors, campaign finance disclosures show. To date, he's booked $62 million across broadcast, cable, satellite, connected TV, radio, and digital platforms, according to his Impact, which tracks political spending. That's more than seven times the $8.5 million that Crist spends.
DeSantis left Florida many times to raise money and talk to supporters. He has also endorsed Republican candidates out of state, including Colorado Senate candidate Joe O'Dea, brought after pitting DeSantis against another Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, the Washington Examiner reported.
“A BIG MISTAKE,” Trump replied on Truth Social.
During the hour-long debate at Fort Pierce, Crist repeatedly returned to DeSantis' presidential ambitions.
“You talked about Joe Biden a lot, and I understand,” Christo said, drawing more applause from his supporters in the room. “You think you’re gonna be running against him? I can see how you might get confused, but you’re running for governor, you’re running for governor.”
DeSantis OWNS Charlie Crist in debate
Will you serve a full four-year term if you're re-elected governor of Florida? Crist asked DeSantis in a debate.
Desantis is inquisitive "It's not a tough question". And Crist responds that "It's a fair question."
So Desantis replied that "He won't tell you I know that Charlie's interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden but I just want to make things very very clear the only worn-out old donkey. I'm looking to put out the pasture is Charlie Chris"