TAMPA (CBSMiami) – From the opening statement, the tough talk began — and lasted a full hour.
Donald Trump was a big part of it, Democrat Nominee and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum calling Republican Congressman Ron Desantis a trump stooge.
“If congressman DeSantis is elected, which he won’t be, he will lead the effort to worship at the feet of Donald Trump,” Gillum said. “We live in a democracy, we don’t worship at the feet of the president.”
DeSantis referenced a Trump talking point numerous times during the debate — calling Tallahassee a city overrun with crime.
“Under mayor Gillum’s leadership, Tallahassee is the most crime-ridden city in the entire state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “Last year Tallahassee had the highest number of murders in the history of the city. Andrew couldn’t keep Tallahassee safe, he’s not the guy to keep Florida families safe.”
Gillum was quick to point out DeSantis’ apparent tactics.
“Ron is being Don and that’s Donald Trump, neglecting all sense of reason and facts,” Gillum said. “I’m presiding over a city that has a five year low in our crime rate.”
They discussed gun legislation and the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
“I’m working with Andy Pollock, his daughter Meadow tragically lost her life there,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to fix it with school security. I think the blanket restriction on age is going to get struck down by the courts. I’m going to work with Andy I’m going to work with law enforcement to identify those people who should not have access to weapons and should not be on the street.”
Gillum responded by saying, “He is wholly owned by the NRA he’s not going to stand up to the national rifle association, that’s why they’re running all these ads against me because they want the man that they bought.”
DeSantis brought up the FBI investigation in Tallahassee — one that Gillum said he is not named in.
“When I dealt with the FBI as a prosecutor I was working hand in hand with them to bring people to justice,” DeSantis said. “When Andrew deals with them, he deals with an undercover agent, posing as a contractor he was on a junket with, in New York City.”
“I am not under FBI investigation and neither is my city government,” Gillum said. “And what we have done is welcomed them in. If there is someone who’s done something wrong, they ought to be held fully accountable for their actions.”
The two also pointed out their differences approaches to health care, the environment, the economy and immigration.
They agreed on one thing — they need their supporters to get out and vote.
“I will work hard,” DeSantis said. “I will put your interest above mine, I’m not going to use my office to feather my own nest. It would be an honor to have your vote.”
Gillum’s close was slightly more personal
“I’m asking you all for the only thing in life that my mother ever told me to ask for and that’s a chance,” he said. “I want to be your governor. Let’s bring it home.”