When Is the DeSantis-Newsom Debate and How to Watch

Fox News will host a 90-minute debate between Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.

The unusual event, between a Republican presidential candidate and a high-profile Democratic governor who has been a surrogate for the Biden administration, will be moderated by Sean Hannity, the conservative prime-time host and a close Trump ally. Here are the ways you can watch:

  • Fox News Channel will show the event starting at 9 p.m. as part of a two-hour broadcast of Mr. Hannity’s prime-time show.

  • Fox News Radio will broadcast the debate simultaneously.

Mr. DeSantis is facing an intensifying race as he pushes for a strong showing in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in January. More than six months after joining the campaign as the most prominent rival to former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. DeSantis has been losing support in recent polls. New upheavals within his campaign will only add to the pressure for a strong performance from Mr. DeSantis in front of a national prime-time audience.

He is facing Mr. Newsom, who has been a key ally of President Biden’s and a leading voice of the national Democratic Party. Mr. Newsom has gathered the kind of national support and connections with donors that would place him in a strong position for a future presidential run. For 2024, Mr. Newsom has firmly backed Mr. Biden and has offered reassurances that he will not threaten the president’s re-election campaign.

Presidential candidates typically do not debate people who are not themselves running for president. Mr. Newsom had challenged Mr. DeSantis to a debate more than a year ago, when the Florida governor had not officially begun his campaign but had long been seen to be preparing a run for the presidency. Mr. Newsom’s participation is likely to further fuel speculation that he has his eye on the White House.

But the unusual spectacle reflects the current state of the presidential campaign: Mr. DeSantis has been slowly losing momentum and needs a jolt. Mr. Newsom has also been eager to further raise his national profile, and Mr. Biden needs powerful surrogates who can help make the case for a second term.

Mr. Hannity’s debate questions will be framed around the two governors’ “vastly different approaches” to running their states, according to Fox News, as well as how they would handle major national issues. These issues would include the economy, the border, immigration, crime and inflation.

The two governors have already sparred for more than a year over some of the most contentious issues in politics, particularly immigration, with each seeking to present his state as a role model of his party’s policies and governance. Thursday’s debate is likely to feature similar contrasts.

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