DeSantis, Crist debate in Fort Pierce

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Charlie Crist debated their differences on Monday night at the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Charlie Crist debated their differences on Monday night at the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce.

Their campaign staff agreed to the debate’s rules, and one of them was that the candidates could not address each other or ask questions to each other.

Crist asked DeSantis a question: “Will you serve a full four-year term if you’re reelected governor of Florida? It’s not a tough question. It’s a fair question, he won’t tell you.”

DeSantis did not respond to Crist’s implication that he has plans to run for president of the United States in 2024. Instead, the 44-year-old Republican resorted to attacking Crist, 66, a former governor.

“I know that Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist,” DeSantis said.

Rep. Charlie Crist took a post-debate press tour Tuesday after the Monday night showdown in Fort Pierce.


When Crist blamed DeSantis for the property insurance market’s crisis, DeSantis accused Crist of not showing up for his community after Hurricane Ian.

“He was hiding out in Puerto Rico,” DeSantis said.


Crist accused DeSantis of ignoring epidemiologists and scientists and DeSantis accused Crist of calling for harsh shutdowns that would have affected the economy.

“We had one of the highest death rates in America,” Crist said.


In response to the case of the Parkland school shooter, DeSantis said he wants the legislature to change the law so it no longer requires a jury to agree unanimously to the death penalty.


DeSantis’ 15-week ban doesn’t have exceptions for rape or incest.

“You deserve a better governor who cares about freedom and your right to choose,” Crist said.


Crist criticizes DeSantis over legislation to prohibit transgender girls to compete in sports at public schools and his opposition to minors undergoing gender transition treatments.

“You need to lead by uniting people, not dividing them,” Crist said.

Watch Tuesday morning’s report

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Charlie Crist participated in a debate on Monday night in Fort Pierce. Local 10 News Reporter Glenna Milberg reports.

Watch Monday night’s report

A defiant Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to commit to serving a full four-year term if reelected when pressed by his Democratic rival, Charlie Crist, at their only gubernatorial debate on Monday.

Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.