Floridians will witness an epic clash of conservative and liberal ideas in the race for governor with a Bernie Sanders-backed mayor battling against a Trump-endorsed congressman in a high-stakes contest that has already captured the nation’s attention.
U.S. Rep. and Tallahassee Mayor , both 39, beat establishment candidates initially favored to win, but they offer vastly different visions on the issues.
DeSantis, a Republican, has called for curtailing special counsel ’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. He belongs to the hard-right Freedom Caucus. Gillum, a Democrat, champions abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, impeaching Trump and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
DeSantis wants to mandate that employers check the immigration status of new hires through a federal system called E-Verify. He has vowed to stop so-called “sanctuary cities” that offer protections to undocumented residents.
Gillum has called for abolishing ICE and replacing it with a “more compassionate and focused agency.” In a debate, Gillum said he would support making driver’s licenses available to undocumented residents. “Illegals is not a noun,” Gillum said. “You don’t get to call people illegals.”
DeSantis says he would oppose tax increases and support an amendment to the state constitution that would require a supermajority for the Legislature to raise taxes.
Gillum wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and increase the state’s corporate tax rate from 5.5 percent to 7.75 percent.
Asked if he views health care as a right, DeSantis said during a debate in Jacksonville that “people should have the right to pursue the health care they want.” An opponent of the Affordable Care Act, he said he doesn’t think “childless, able-bodied adults” of working age should be on Medicaid. “We already have health care as the biggest line-item of the budget,” DeSantis said.
Gillum wants Medicare for all. He views health care as “a fundamental right, not a privilege.” He favors expanding Medicaid.
DeSantis has said he passed after the Parkland massacre. He said he thinks some parts of the legislation, such as raising the age to buy a long gun from 18 to 21, would violate Floridians’ Second Amendment Rights. DeSantis from the .
Gillum supports an “assault weapons ban,” universal background checks for gun sales and prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines. The NRA issued an F rating to Gillum.
DeSantis has promised to fully implement , which was overwhelmingly passed by Florida voters. But DeSantis said he has concerns legalizing marijuana for recreational use “would make it harder for parents.”
Gillum supports , taxing it and putting the revenue into education.
DeSantis says he wants to expand school choice programs, promote vocational training and oppose the use of Common Core standards.
Gillum proposes investing $1 billion into public schools and raising the starting pay for teachers to $50,000 a year.
DeSantis has a less-than-stellar rating from the League of Conservation Voters, scoring only 2 percent. In an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, DeSantis said the , but climate change is best handled on the national and international level. He didn’t say with certainty that humans are contributing to climate change. DeSantis promises to stop discharges from Lake Okeechobee by storing polluted water south of the lake.
Gillum vows to stand up to interests that have contributed to the fouling of Florida waters and fueled unchecked development. He wants to transition to clean energy and calls climate change “a real and urgent threat.”
Both candidates oppose offshore oil drilling.