MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA — On Tuesday night, Governor DeSantis told Sean Hannity that Biden’s visit to Florida is “an in-kind contribution to my campaign.” DeSantis made a public offer that he would underwrite Biden to stay in Florida for the rest of the campaign.
“If Joe wants to stay, it will be on our dime, and we would love for the people of Florida to be reminded that the Democrats in this state are with Biden one hundred percent of the time,” DeSantis told Fox News viewers.
A TYPICALLY DEMOCRATIC STRONGHOLD
Although most would consider South Florida fertile ground for Democrats – given the Inflation Reduction Act, which caps out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses for Medicare recipients and limits the cost of insulin – the trip, according to Governor DeSantis, was largely unhelpful.
As President Biden traveled through Southeast Florida, a typically Democratic stronghold, he warned that Republicans would undermine benefits important to older Floridians. “They’re coming after your Social Security and Medicare, and they’re saying it out loud,” Biden told the audience at a campaign rally in Hallandale.
The president said that a Republican victory in Congress during the midterms would jeopardize the two programs. Biden has been defending attacks on him over inflation, one of the most significant issues motivating voters this election cycle.
INFLATION REDUCTION ACT
Speaking to seniors in the Sunshine State, Biden went after DeSantis, calling him “Donald Trump incarnate.” The president said that his recent efforts to limit healthcare costs would reduce inflation. But the Inflation Reduction Act, the legislation he referred to, includes spending more than $80 billion to overhaul the IRS.
“They talk about inflation all the time,” Biden said. “What in God’s name? If you have to take a prescription and it costs you an arm and a leg, and I reduce that, you don’t have to pay as much. That reduces your cost of living. It reduces inflation.”
But Governor DeSantis called the bill the largest tax increase in American history. “I think every member of Congress that voted for that bill should be required to be audited every year by the IRS,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Fort Pierce shortly after the bill passed.
South Florida is showing signs of turning red. In recent election cycles, Democrats who lost by narrow margins have been unable to raise enough funds to compete in many media markets across the state.
Crist, who made abortion a central focus of his campaign, has raised less cash than previous nominees for governor, gubernatorial candidates in other states, and Val Demings, the Democrats’ nominee for U.S. Senate. He's struggled to raise the money necessary to compete in the race against Ron DeSantis. He also struggled in the only debate against the incumbent governor, and poll numbers suggest that the majority of Floridians do not agree with his ideology.
The funding shortfall is surprising to some Democrats, who assumed the party’s base would be motivated to remove Governor DeSantis from office. “Democrats have failed very much to send a warning signal to Washington and the rest of the country,” Nancy Texiera, a Democratic strategist in Florida, told the Miami Herald. “We are going to be a canary in the coal mine.”
Even a presidential visit to South Florida – garnering national attention for Crist – may be too little, too late in a race where many have already cast their ballots early.