It’s on. DeSantis accepts Newsom request for debate: ‘Put up or shut up.’ ‘Let’s get it done’

Head shots of two people.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
(Associated Press)

A year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom threw down the gauntlet, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken it up: The Newsom-DeSantis debate is on.

DeSantis accepted Newsom’s debate request during an appearance Wednesday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. The televised event is set to take place this fall.

“Absolutely, I’m game. Let’s get it done,” DeSantis said. “Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”


According to the terms Newsom proposed, the debate would happen either Nov. 8 or 10 in one of three battleground states: Nevada, Georgia or North Carolina. It would not be held in front of an audience, but it would be broadcast live during a 90-minute segment on Fox News.

The debate would be moderated by Hannity and offer alternating questions for each governor to answer within 90 seconds. Each participant will also be allowed up to four minutes of opening remarks and two minutes of closing remarks.

Newsom has been aiming to debate DeSantis since last fall, and the pair have engaged in several public spats. DeSantis, a candidate in the 2024 GOP presidential primary race, has recently suffered sliding poll numbers and reduced fundraising contributions.

“Nov. 8 or 10 — DeSantis should put up or shut up. Anything else is just games,” Newsom said via a spokesperson.

Newsom has previously criticized DeSantis over his mass transport of migrants,seeming to threaten kidnapping charges for the Florida governor’s actions. Newsom also headed to the Sunshine State to meet with students at the New College of Florida, a college where several conservative trustees were recently appointed to the board.

While the logistics of the debate are finalized, the first Republican National Committee primary debate is set to take place on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.


DeSantis has qualified for the debate but has yet to confirm his appearance with the committee. Six other candidates have also qualified: former President Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Florida’s emergency management agency acknowledges it facilitated migrants’ flights from New Mexico to Sacramento. California officials have said the move may have been illegal.

June 6, 2023