Ron DeSantis, Charlie Crist gubernatorial debate


In Florida’s only gubernatorial debate, Republican incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis dodged questions on whether he’s pining for the White House and vowed to put his Democratic rival Charlie Crist “​​out to pasture.”

Crist, who served as governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, tried repeatedly to get DeSantis to answer whether he’d run for president in 2024. Moderator Liz Quirantes said candidates had agreed not to ask each other questions during the debate, hosted by WPEC-TV, Channel 12 in Fort Pierce, Florida.

DeSantis, who has spent most of his re-election campaign ignoring his opponent, attacked “Biden-Crist” policies for hikes in inflation and gasoline prices. Crist emphasized his support for abortion rights — a position he has not always held — in contrast with the 15-week abortion ban, without exceptions for rape or incest, that DeSantis signed this year.

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Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican Ron DeSantis debated Oct. 24, 2022, before the midterm elections.

Some of the candidates’ attacks on taxes, education, abortion and pandemic management needed a fact-check.

Crist: DeSantis raised taxes by “$1 billion on every consumer in our state.”

PolitiFact rated a similar claim Mostly False. DeSantis signed a 2021 bill to revise Florida’s online sales tax, which the state estimated would generate around $1 billion annually. But the law did not establish a new tax; it shifted the responsibility to remit sales tax from consumers to the remote seller. The law, SB 50, required sellers with no physical presence in Florida to collect and remit taxes on items delivered to customers in the state. Before the revision, people were required to remit such taxes to the state — though few did.

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