News4JAX fact checks Monday night’s Florida governor debate

They sparred over abortion, immigration and transgender healthcare. In what will be their only a debate that can be described as caustic at best Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Democrat Charlie Crist faced off with election looming just a couple of weeks away. Joining us on The Morning Show is Michael Binder, a political science professor at the University of North Florida.

Not everything that is said in the context of debates is the way it is. Our mission is to make sure you know the facts when you go to the polls.

So, let’s separate some facts from fiction from Monday night’s debate.

Crist claimed DeSantis raised taxes by “one billion dollars on every consumer in our state” — PolitiFact said this is “mostly false.”

Related: Fla. Gov. DeSantis refuses to commit to serving full term

DeSantis signed a bill in 2021 to revise Florida’s online sales tax — but it did not establish a new tax. It shifted the responsibility to remit sales tax from consumers to remote sellers.

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Also, Governor DeSantis said Crist “supports taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up until the moment of birth.” PolitiFact called this “misleading,” and needing context.

Crist supported the standard set by Roe V Wade, which allows abortion until “viability,” or when a fetus can survive outside the womb. Fetal viability is generally around 24 weeks into pregnancy.


Crist also voted to repeal the Hyde amendment, which prohibits using federal dollars for abortion.

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Crist claimed DeSantis “made it harder for voters to mail-in ballots.” Let’s clarify: That refers to a 2021 law that included some new rules for voting by mail.

It limits the use of drop boxes to early voting hours and requires voters to request mail-in ballots more frequently than in the past.

The law left some voting rights unchanged. More than one million Floridians have already cast a ballot by mail for the November election.

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Finally, DeSantis said fuel and natural gas prices are up because of “the Biden-Crist energy policies.” That swipe by the Governor ignores the global forces that play a bigger role than presidential policies. At the start of the pandemic, gas prices fell as demand plummeted.

Prices climbed with recovery and they kept climbing with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Domestic oil production has been rising, but not fast enough to keep up with demand. Oil companies have been reluctant to invest in additional facilities and supplies that produce more oil because it would be less profitable and riskier.

Early voting in the Nov. 8 general election started on Monday in Jacksonville — as well as Alachua, Bradford, Flagler and Putnam counties. Voting sites are open by the end of the week in all Florida counties. Voting continues through the Saturday before Election Day across the state and through the Sunday before the election in Duval, Bradford and one early voting site in Gainesville.

Not everything that is said in the context of debates is the way it is. Our mission is to make sure you know the facts when you go to the polls

About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.