Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are set to face off in November in a televised debate moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity, the network announced on Monday.
The 90-minute debate will air during Hannity’s 9 p.m. prime-time show on Nov. 30, Fox News said in a news release. The forum is set to take place in Georgia, though an exact location hasn’t been determined yet.
Newsom first expressed interest in debating DeSantis during an interview with Hannity in June. Just a few weeks later, in July, DeSantis agreed to participate in a debate.
Initial disagreements arose between Newsom and DeSantis over ground rules, including a proposal by DeSantis’ team to replace a traditional opening statement with a prerecorded video message.
DeSantis, a staunchly conservative Republican who’s running for his party’s presidential nomination, has long feuded with Newsom, a Democrat, over their radically different governing styles and political beliefs. On the campaign trail, the Florida governor frequently jabs at California, describing it as a state in decline after years of Democratic leadership.
For his part, Newsom has accused DeSantis of clamping down on Floridians’ basic freedoms by signing off on policies like a six-week ban on abortions or a law that bars classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in Florida schools.
The Nov. 30 showdown is being billed by Fox News as a “red vs. blue state debate” that will provide voters with a clear-cut view of how two of the country’s most prominent governors do business.
“I’m looking forward to providing viewers with an informative debate about everyday issues and governing philosophies that impact the lives of every American,” Hannity said in a statement issued by Fox News.
While DeSantis isn’t competing with Newsom in the 2024 presidential race, the debate could have some clear ramifications for the Florida governor’s White House ambitions, giving him a high-profile opportunity to face off on national television against the Democratic governor of the largest state in the U.S.
DeSantis has struggled for months to catch up to former President Donald Trump, the GOP primary’s front-runner, and some recent polls suggest that his once solid, second-place standing may be slipping away.
Meanwhile, some top Republican donors have raised questions about DeSantis’ presidential prospects and campaign strategy. That includes billionaire hedge fund executive Ken Griffin, who last year said he was ready to support DeSantis’ presidential bid-in-waiting but told CNBC just last week that he is remaining on the sidelines of the contest for the time being.