DeSantis agrees to debate Newsom on Fox News, bringing their rivalry onstage

“I’m game, let’s get it done, just tell me when and where,” DeSantis said.

August 3, 2023, 8:56 PM

Govs. Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom -- political rivals who have criticized one another for months -- have both agreed to a debate hosted by Fox News' Sean Hannity, setting up a televised head-to-head.

"I'm game, let's get it done, just tell me when and where," DeSantis, a Florida Republican, said on Hannity's show on Wednesday night, responding to a challenge that had been issued by the California Democrat.

Newsom's office sent a letter to Fox News and Hannity on Friday which detailed proposed ground rules for a debate, something Newsom has floated going back to 2022.

"Governor Gavin Newsom has both challenged and agreed to debate Governor Ron DeSantis on multiple occasions," the letter states.

Newsom's office last week proposed a 90-minute, in-studio debate moderated by Hannity and aired live on Fox News with no audience.

The letter proposed two dates, Nov. 8 and Nov. 10, and three possible locations: Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina.

In a statement to ABC News, a Newsom spokesperson said, "DeSantis should put up or shut up. Anything else is just games."

DeSantis campaign told donors in a memo, "We look forward to working out the details and providing an update on specifics in the near future, as well as laying out the clear contrast between Newsom's model ... and Governor DeSantis' vision."

And DeSantis has blasted donors and supporters with messages about the possible debate, including a memo Thursday morning arguing that a showdown with Newsom "isn't about California vs. Florida -- that debate has already been settled."

"This is about two very different visions for the future of our country," the memo said.

A Fox News spokeswoman said she had no further details.