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Florida Gubernatorial Race Descends into Clamor

On Tuesday, the primary voters in Florida nominated Iraq veteran and U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis, Republican, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Democrat, for the state's governorship. DeSantis' victory was expected, for he was the frontrunner in the polls and he had been endorsed by President Donald Trump, but Gillum, who was behind U.S. Representative Gwen Graham in the surveys, pulled off an upset.

Congressman DeSantis

Both candidates at their respective parties' ideological extremes: DeSantis is a staunch conservative who proposed cutting off funding for the special counsel's investigation last year; Gillum is a democratic socialist who supports universal healthcare and a $15 minimum wage. The contest has parallels with the gubernatorial race in neighboring Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State and Democratic former state Representative Stacey Abrams are ideological polar opposites.

The Florida contest kicked off with a bang on Wednesday when DeSantis said that "we’ve got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction, let’s build off the success we’ve had on Governor Scott, the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state."

The campaign of Mayor Gillum, who is African-American, represented DeSantis' use of the phrase "monkey it up," which was used in the context of the Florida economy, as being racist in nature. While an examination of DeSantis' statement disproves such assertions, the congressman was pummeled on the airwaves by liberal talking heads.

The headline, for example, blared, "Florida's GOP gubernatorial nominee says a vote for his black opponent would 'monkey this up,'" examining DeSantis' commentary on the Florida economy through a racial prism.

Without such propagandizing, the Florida contest would already be vicious enough. The differences between the candidates are stark, and it is the belief of this columnist that they would be best discussing their respective proposals for the state of Florida. Vociferous name-calling and unsubstantiated claims of racism are never a net positive.

Andrew Gillum with his spouse, R. Jai Gillum

Gillum, for one, could explain why he is qualified for the governorship when his city of Tallahassee has the highest crime rate in the state. In fact, during his tenure, the murder rate skyrocketed to an all-time high. Gillum could also outline a strategy for paying for his ambitious, big-government social programs.