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GOP candidate accused of using racist term

Fresh off his victory in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, Rep. Ron DeSantis said that voters would "monkey this up" if they elected his African-American opponent, Andrew Gillum to be governor because of his "socialist agenda."

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 5:06 AM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 5:06 AM

Fresh off his victory in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, Rep. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that voters would "monkey this up" if they elected his African-American opponent, Andrew Gillum, to be governor, immediately drawing accusations of racism.

The remark provides a controversial beginning to what will be a closely watched general election for the Florida governorship, which pits DeSantis, who has closely aligned himself with President Donald Trump, against Gillum, a progressive backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Calling him "an articulate spokesman" for the far left, DeSantis said during an interview on Fox News when asked about his opponent Gillum, "The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state."

Gillum would become the state's first black governor if he were to win in November. Democrats quickly accused DeSantis of using racist dog whistles, which DeSantis' campaign denied.

"It's disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles," Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement, which was cited by the Gillum campaign when asked for a response.

"On the first day of the general election, Ron DeSantis showed Floridians who he really is," Democratic Governors Association Deputy Communications Director David Turner said. "Resorting to dog whistle politics within hours of winning the GOP nomination shows a desperate candidate who will stoop to new lows in order to court and give voice to fringe elements of society. Floridians want a leader who will bring them together; Ron DeSantis has shown that he would only divide Florida."

A spokeswoman for Fox News reached out to CNN early Wednesday afternoon to distance the network from DeSantis' remark, saying, "We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement."

Stephen Lawson, the communications director for the DeSantis campaign, said he was referring to Gillum's policies in making the remark.

"Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd," Lawson said. "Florida's economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left democrat trying to stop our success."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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