FIRST ON FOX: The Ron DeSantis presidential campaign released a statement outlining why it believes the Florida governor won Wednesday night’s debate while also previewing his plan for an upcoming debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom that he called the ‘biggest’ debate yet.

‘Ron DeSantis was victorious last night by making clear that he has what it takes to fight and win for the American people as commander-in-chief, but the next debate will be the biggest one yet,’ DeSantis campaign manager James Uthmeier told Fox News Digital in a statement.

‘As Democrats ramp up their efforts to replace the historically unpopular and failed Joe Biden as their nominee, Ron DeSantis’ showdown with Gavin Newsom is even more timely.’

The statement continued, ‘A Newsom presidency would accelerate America’s decline, and November 30th will be the first chance to expose to a national audience just how dangerous his radical ideology would be for the country. Ron DeSantis will take this responsibility seriously and looks forward to sharing the stark contrast between his vision to revive our nation and Newsom’s blueprint for failure.’

DeSantis and Newsom are set to face off in a debate that will air on Fox News Channel on Nov. 30, moderated by Sean Hannity.

The debate comes as Newsom has faced accusations of running a ‘shadow’ presidential campaign, positioning himself to step into the 2024 race if President Biden decides not to run.

A Monmouth University poll released this month showed that 76% of voters agreed that Biden, 80, is ‘too old’ to serve another term, compared to 48% who said the same about Trump, 77. 

Additionally, prominent Democrats have expressed concerns about Biden running for reelection after polling has shown him underwater in key swing state polls.

‘I was concerned before these polls, and I’m concerned now,’ Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told CNN over the weekend.

Newsom has repeatedly said he is not running for president in 2024.

‘The only category Ron won last night was ‘most cringey,’’ Newsom spokesperson Nathan Click told Fox News Digital in a statement. ‘He doubled down on the anti-freedom agenda that has cost Republicans election after election and wilted when confronted with his numerous flip-flops. The fact he even accepted Gov. Newsom’s [year-old] debate challenge shows just how desperate he is to distract from his own flailing campaign.’

DeSantis said last week about the upcoming debate with Newsom, ‘I think what California represents, it’s kind of the leftist petri dish. So, whatever the Democrats have already done in Washington, California is kind of like five years ahead of that.’

‘So, if you did have a Biden second term, I think you’d get a lot of the same policies. But clearly, if you ended up with like a Newsom, they would have policies that would really accelerate the decline of this country. Whereas I think Florida represents a model where we can reverse the decline and have an American revival. So, yes, there’ll be differences that are discussed between the two states. But I think the more important part of the debate is how does that factor into the nation’s future.’

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