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Fact-Checking the Ron DeSantis-Gavin Newsom Debate: Examining the Claims Made by the Governors

In a recent debate hosted by Sean Hannity of Fox News, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom made numerous claims and presented statistics. Let’s take a closer look at these claims and determine their accuracy.


During the debate, Hannity highlighted the population loss in California and population gain in Florida. DeSantis acknowledged this, and Newsom challenged it by mentioning Floridians moving to California.

However, when considering the raw numbers from the Census Bureau, the difference is not statistically significant due to the population disparity between the two states.

Crime and Homelessness:

DeSantis claimed that Florida has a 50-year low in crime rates. While this statement is based on incomplete data, it is true that Florida’s crime rate has been declining for the past three decades.

On the other hand, Newsom stated that seven of the top ten murder rates in the US are in red states, although this claim lacks context since these states have historically had high crime rates regardless of their political leanings.

Newsom also mentioned California’s decreasing violent crime rate, which is supported by data from the Public Policy Institute of California. Additionally, DeSantis accurately pointed out a decline in homelessness in Florida and an increase in homelessness in California based on data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

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Newsom criticized DeSantis for having regressive tax rates, claiming that Florida’s taxation disproportionately affects low-income workers compared to millionaires and billionaires.

This claim is based on a study by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. While it is true that Florida lacks a state income tax and relies heavily on sales and excise taxes, which can burden lower-income households, Newsom’s comparison of effective tax rates between Florida’s poor residents and California’s wealthy residents is the source of his claim.

The Pandemic:

The discussion shifted to coronavirus death rates, with Hannity showing CDC statistics indicating similar death rates between California and Florida. However, Newsom objected, claiming this was untrue. The numbers presented were adjusted for age, which is necessary given Florida’s higher percentage of elderly residents.

Newsom argued that after vaccines were introduced, Florida’s death rate increased compared to California’s, and this is supported by CDC data.

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Credits: DepositPhotos


DeSantis brought up the story of Penny Hopper, a woman who survived a late-term abortion. The Fact Checker previously examined her story, and while DeSantis has made some adjustments in his retelling, the overall narrative of a doctor and nurses attempting to save her remains accurate.

Newsom criticized DeSantis for signing bills limiting exceptions for rape and incest and instituting a six-week ban, claiming that these measures were extreme and even criticized by Donald Trump. DeSantis countered that the penalties in the law apply to healthcare providers, not women seeking abortions.


Newsom claimed that under DeSantis’ leadership, 1,406 books were banned. This claim is based on a study by PEN America, which defines book bans broadly.

However, a local Florida news outlet found that around 300 book titles were removed from shelves in Florida school districts in 2022, with significant variation across counties.

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!