Ron DeSantis accepts Gavin Newsom’s challenge to debate: ‘Absolutely, I’m game’

Florida vs. California — it’s on.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican, will debate Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, accepting Wednesday evening an offer from his California counterpart.

When asked by host Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel show whether he’d accept, Mr. DeSantis responded: “Absolutely, I’m game.”

“Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where we’ll do it,” he said as the “Hannity” audience cheered.

The two men, who govern the nation’s largest (California) and third-largest (Florida) populations, have been chirping at each other for more than a year with their opposing governing.

“In one respect, the debate between California and Florida has already been had, as you suggest, people have been voting on that, they’ve been voting on it with their feet, they have fled California in record numbers,” Mr. DeSantis said Wednesday night, noting that Florida has the nation’s highest net in-migration.

“But in another sense, this is the debate for the future of our country because you have people like Joe Biden, they would love to see the Californication of the United States,” he said.

Mr. DeSantis also noted that a debate between him and Mr. Newsom, or between Florida and California, also could offer a preview of the fall 2024 race because of age-related concerns about the 80-year-old Mr. Biden.

”Biden may not even be the nominee. You could have Gavin Newsom. You could have Kamala Harris. And I think if we go down that direction [of California lawmakers], that’s going to accelerate American decline,” he said.