Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis made his first of five stops Monday morning in Jacksonville with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, in an attempt to drive up election day vote.
The visit was especially pivotal given a Democratic lead statewide in ballots cast, including an almost 13,000 ballot lead in Duval County as of the end of voting Sunday.
In front of an enthusiastic crowd approaching 200 people (if the streaming video was a reliable indicator), Rubio urged voters to keep Florida “moving forward on the right track,” choosing between “big government” and “bureaucrats.”
“He has done his part. Now we have to do ours,” Rubio said.
The candidate said familiar things, including simultaneously trumpeting the economy as the best ever in Florida history while saying that there is plenty of room for improvement.
As he has done at many other stops, he suggested that Democrat Andrew Gillum would raise taxes, buttressing his points in a “non-partisan” economic analysis by the conservative James Madison Institute. He also depicted Gillum as a threat to gun ownership, and said that expanding Medicaid would be “bad for health” and would lead to “rationed care.”
“He doesn’t respect your individual freedom,” DeSantis said, before launching into a familiar litany of Gillum’s infractions, including raising taxes in Tallahassee.
He didn’t miss a chance to give his familiar indictment of Gillum’s dealings with lobbyists, amidst an FBI sting focusing on Tallahassee either. If Governor, DeSantis again vowed to “launch a statewide grand jury” on “municipal corruption.”
Before the headliners, Mrs. Casey DeSantis kicked remarks off to the faithful, essentially paraphrasing well-worn remarks her husband has used on the stump in recent weeks, likewise pillorying Gillum for his proposed tax increases and expansions of the social safety net before offering the capsulized biography of the candidate as devoted to public service above all else.
Lt. Gov. candidate Jeanette Nunez urged voters to say no to the “corruption” and “radical socialist” vision offered by Gillum.
Most polls, but not all, show a strong break of independent voters to Gillum.
While polling can be wrong (as exemplified by the Democratic primary race of 2018), what was clear in Jacksonville was DeSantis was racing against time and poll-demonstrated trends.