DeSantis, Gillum debate Trump and more

Ron DeSantis

Rather, it was a nationally televised brawl between the two candidates neck-and-neck in one of the nation's most closely watched state races.

The stark contrasts between Gillum and DeSantis - polar opposite candidates who each embrace some of the more aggressive elements within their parties - were on full display as they offered dramatically different policy proposals. Other counties start in the coming week. Those allegations were explored Sunday and led to some intense back and forth between the two men.

DeSantis said Gillum would hurt Florida's economy by raising taxes and hiking the minimum wage.

CNN's Jake Tapper will host the one-hour face-to-face beginning at 8 p.m. ET, from the WEDU studios in Tampa.

DeSantis also addressed accusations that he has sought to inject race into the campaign. "I'll be a governor for all Floridians".

Gillum, who has the backing of the Sierra Club, called the Republican "an election year environmentalist".

Gillum has repeatedly said that Federal Bureau of Investigation told him he was not a focus of the probe, which centers on the relationships between developers and lobbyists in the state capital, including one with longstanding connections to Gillum. "So far as I know, I will die black". The Tallahassee mayor outshined him on every topic that came up and showed himself to be a more personable and likable candidate.

"That was a mouthful", a surprised Gillum said.

DeSantis ignored the comment and kept the heat on Gillum, repeatedly pressing him about who paid for a trip to Costa Rica and a ticket to the Broadway musical Hamilton. Gillum, the first African American gubernatorial nominee from either major party, said, "I don't take free trips from anybody". "I'm a hard working person".

"I know Andrew didn't support that and doesn't think that's right", DeSantis said.

Polls have consistently showed the race effectively tied or with Gillum slightly ahead, not surprising in a purple state with a recent history of especially close gubernatorial elections.

That sparked one of the tensest moments of the debate.

DeSantis said Gillum's plan would cause electric rates to "skyrocket".

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While Gillum criticized the president, he said he would be happy to work with him to bring money to Florida for needed projects.

DeSantis called Gillum's position: "A wet kiss to the drug cartels".

While Gillum often skirted DeSantis' questions, DeSantis didn't always answer Tapper.

"You need to be able to work with the president", DeSantis said.

Gillum avoided talking about Medicare for All and emphasized his support for expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

"Would you sign the bill for single-payer healthcare?"

Meanwhile, early voting is about to get underway in Florida.

Gillum ignored the question and focused on DeSantis's votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and protections in the law for people with pre-existing conditions.

Trump's endorsement helped carry DeSantis to victory in the GOP primary over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Trump also factored into Sunday's debate.

Gillum responded to the President's tweets on Twitter, saying "When you lie about me from the most powerful office in the world and still don't have the courage to @ me". He noted that Gillum has called for Trump's impeachment. "He's going to have Soros clapping, he's going to have Hollywood actors clapping but the people of Florida will be left behind".

Though his upset victory in the primary was driven by an endorsement from President Donald Trump, DeSantis sought to keep some space from the President, never quite answering whether he considered Trump a good "role model", and instead talking up the administration's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Then the Tallahassee mayor added that DeSantis "is trying out to be the Trump apprentice".

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