Crist and DeSantis begin their campaigns with a war of words

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Crist DeSantis
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (Right) and Governor Ron DeSantis (Left).

It’s off to the races for Charlie Crist and Governor Ron DeSantis, and both campaigns have come out swinging.

Both candidates are not waiting until closer to Election Day to get their points across and bash the other side. Governor DeSantis is bashing the federal government as well as Dr. Fauci.

Crist took shots at the governor and spoke with confidence about going home a winner come November 8. He called the governor a bully and told the governor’s supporters that he didn’t want their vote.

Desantis fired back, calling Crist a chameleon and contemptible.

On day one in the race for governor, Crist set a tone. “He’s anti-women, I’ll be pro-women. He’s anti-African American, I’m pro-African American. I’m pro-Floridian, and he’s against Florida,” said Crist.

Crist came out with fighting words, and political experts told WINK News that Crist is using them with purpose.

“If you’re challenging an incumbent, the first thing you have to establish to people is that the incumbent needs to be replaced,” said Kevin Wagner, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University.

“Crist really has to get out there and be aggressive in his campaigning because guess what, governor DeSantis is,” said Sandra Pavelka, a political science professor at FGCU.

DeSantis is aggressive. He targets people and issues and fires up his base of supporters. DeSantis knows nothing riles the crowd up more than Dr. Fauci.

“Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac,” said DeSantis about Dr. Fauci during a campaign event in Orlando on Wednesday.

WINK News asked the experts if that tone could turn off some voters.

“I think he really wants to put his best foot forward. And in this case, it may mean name calling, it may mean getting down and dirty,” said Pavelka.

“The difficulty for Charlie Crist, and even for Governor DeSantis, is to excite the base, to get your base excited, but still be appealing to the more moderate voters where some of that rhetoric may not appeal,” said Wagner.

Don’t be surprised if the tone of the race only escalates. “I think it’s going to be like a roller coaster ride. So we have from now until November. And I think we need to put on our seat belts and strap in,” Pavelka said.

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