Molly Prince, DCNF
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum criticized his Republican challenger Rep. Ron DeSantis on Thursday for having “the nerve” to refer to him by his first name.
“I met [DeSantis] for the first time the other night, and then all of a sudden, without invitation, he was calling me only as Andrew,” Gillum told a crowd at Florida Memorial University. “Between the two of us, he quit his job in Congress — I’m a sitting mayor, and he had the nerve to address me only as Andrew?”
DeSantis announced his resignation from congress in September in order to focus on the Florida gubernatorial race.
“As the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, it is clear to me that I will likely miss the vast majority of our remaining session days for this Congress,” DeSantis wrote in his resignation letter. “In order to honor my principles and protect the taxpayer, I officially resign from the House of Representatives effective immediately.”
The race between the two gubernatorial hopefuls has been contentious since the onset. DeSantis faced backlash mere hours after winning his state’s Republican nomination following a comment that was misconstrued to seemingly refer to Gillum’s race. Gillum has subsequently and frequently implied that DeSantis is a racist, but DeSantis has vehemently denied the accusations and further condemned racism.
The issue of race arose again during the debate Tuesday. Gillum said that while he’s not explicitly calling DeSantis a racist, he’s “simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
“I wanted to correct him, y’all, but I didn’t want to be petty,” Gillum continued to the students. “So, we just we pushed all the way through.”
Gillum is leading DeSantis by an average of 4.5 points, according to Real Clear Politics.
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