By Kenneth Schrupp, Reporter, The Center Square
(The Center Square) – California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have agreed to participate in a debate hosted by Sean Hannity on Fox News, pitting two younger, Generation X governors seen as standard bearers of their respective parties against each other for 90 minutes.
First discussed between Newsom and Hannity when Newsom was interviewed by Hannity in June, the proposal was made into an official request by Newsom’s office last week, according to Politico, with suggested dates for November 8 or 10.
When Hannity asked DeSantis on air whether or not he’d debate Newsom, DeSantis was quick to commit, saying, “Absolutely. I’m game. Let’s get it done. Just tell me when and where. We’ll do it.”
The debate comes at a pivotal time for the two men, with DeSantis falling behind former president Donald Trump and attempting to reboot his campaign, and with Newsom increasingly positioning himself as a super-surrogate–or even replacement candidate-in-waiting–for President Joseph Biden.
In the spring, Newsom toured conservative states across the sunbelt with excess leftover money from his gubernatorial race to buttress and strengthen ties with local Democrats, further raising his national profile. According to the most recent approval poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, Newsom maintains a 57% approval rating, below his 65% peak in May of 2020 but well above his low of 44% in 2019.
DeSantis holds similar approval ratings as governor of Florida, holding steady at 54%, with 41% of voters polled saying they strongly approve of his management of the state. However, his presidential candidacy seems to be stalling, with the current average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics placing him at just 18.1% of Republican primary voters to Trump’s 53.9%.