Fact Check: Gavin Newsom vs. Ron DeSantis Debate

Fox ‘News’ host, Sean Hannity hosted a debate between California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Below are the claims, facts, and some video clips of Thursday’s debate dubbed as “The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate;” more of that typical, Us vs. Them that RW extremists are known for.

2024 Election:

Facts vs. Alt Facts:

DeSantis claimed that CA ran out of Uhauls to transport people fleeing the state. Shockingly, he made a true claim but of course, did not tell the entire story:

Claim: “They actually at one point ran out of U-Hauls in the state of California because so many people were leaving,” said DeSantis

Rating: True

Fact: U-Haul did run out of trucks in California in 2021. Because demand for outbound moves from California was so high in 2020

  • But claims of a massive California-to-Florida migration are largely inflated. Of all the U.S. residents who moved to Florida last year, less than 7% came from California.
  • An estimated 50,701 people left California for Florida between 2021 and 2022, according to recent census figures, making Florida the third-most popular domestic destination for Golden State expats. About 28,000 moved from Florida to California. So, a state with a population of 39.2 million lost a net 22,000 residents to Florida.

GAS PRICES Claim: “You have $6 or $7 gallon gas. How can people afford that?” asked DeSantis.

Rating: Not today, sir.

MURDER RATES-⚠️Warning! That ‘Bigly Concept,’ per capita, at play ⚠️

Claim: Florida has a higher murder rate than California.

"Seven of the top 10 murder rates in the United States of America are red states. (DeSantis) has a 66% higher gun death rate than the state of California. He has a higher murder rate,” said Newsom. 
  • Explanation: Per capita, Florida has a higher murder rate than California, according to 2021 data — the most recent available — from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Florida had 7.4 homicides per 100,000 total population in 2021.
  • California had 6.4 homicides per 100,000.
  • Both were below the U.S. rate of 7.8 per 100,000.
  • When it comes to firearm mortality, which includes deaths by suicide, Florida had 14.1 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2021.
  • California, which has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, had 9 per 100,000.

Book Bans and Schools:

Literacy rates and learning loss:

  • DeSantis and Newsom each said their state handled education better during the pandemic.
  • DeSantis said that in the most recent results of a widely tracked standardized test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “Florida came in No. 3 for fourth grade reading. California was far, far behind.”
  • This is accurate. Florida ranked third among states for fourth grade reading, after Massachusetts and Wyoming. California ranked 32nd.
  • On eighth grade reading, Florida ranked 21st, but still led California, which ranked 29th.


As Hannity pressed Newsom on whether he supported any abortion restrictions, Newsom attacked Florida’s abortion laws. 

"He signed a bill banning any exceptions for rape and incest," Newsom said of DeSantis. "And then he said it didn't go far enough and decided to sign a six-week ban … that criminalizes women and criminalizes doctors." 

The Border:

Who should be the next senator from California?

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