Governors Ron DeSantis, Gavin Newsom to face off in debate Thursday night

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom will face off Thursday night in an event moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity.

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The two will be in Alpharetta, Georgia, in what the network is calling “The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate.”

Both men are known to have ambitions beyond their current jobs. DeSantis, 45, a Republican, is running for the Republican nomination for president. Newsom, 56, a Democrat, is on President Joe Biden’s reelection team.

There will not be a live audience for the event which is set for 90 minutes and begins at 9 p.m. EST.

The idea for the event came about after Newsom suggested in September 2022 on CNN that he should debate DeSantis over some of the claims the Florida governor was making. Then, Hannity raised the idea again in a June 2023 interview with Newsom, and he agreed to it. DeSantis did the same a couple of months later.

The men, both first elected in 2018, and re-elected in 2022, have been criticizing each other in ads and public appearances for more than a year.

DeSantis has suggested that Newsom may well end up replacing President Joe Biden on the 2024 general election ballot. Newsom says that idea is nonsense and points to his position on the president’s re-election campaign.

DeSantis is trying to unseat former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Trump has anywhere from a 30- to 50-point lead over DeSantis in current polls.

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