Gubernatorial candidates make final push for Bay Area votes

Image 1 of 3

The two candidates to be Florida's governor made stops in the Bay Area Tuesday, showing once again how crucial voters in this region will be in determining who wins the race.

Democratic candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum held campaign events in New Port Richey and Haines City. Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, stopped at La Teresita, a famous Cuban-Spanish restaurant in Tampa, before traveling south to an event in Sun City Center.

Both largely stuck to the script when discussing potential policy. Each claimed they believe they are the best fit to keep the state's economy heading in the right direction while addressing education issues and the blue-green algae crisis.

Gillum and DeSantis also took shots at one another.

"Every time my opponent has had the opportunity to talk about his vision for the State of Florida, he can't get my name out of his mouth long enough to express to you what he wants to do as governor for the State of Florida," Gillum said.

DeSantis, however, continued his attack on Gillum, calling him corrupt and accusing him of a pay-for-play scheme in Tallahassee, which is at the center of an FBI investigation.

"When you're an elected official and you get something that you shouldn't have gotten and then you turn around and give someone something that they shouldn't have gotten, that's a problem and I think him saying he's not under investigation is a total, total falsehood," DeSantis said.

Gillum has called the accusations lies and denies any wrongdoing. He also recently said he is not a target of the federal investigation.

President Trump has also weighed in, calling Gillum a "thief" in a recent Tweet.

Gillum hit back during his rally in Pasco County.

"We can have a debate around ideas. We can have a debate around where we want to take this state," he said. "Unfortunately [DeSantis] is now joined by Donald Trump and the campaign of distractions and the campaign of division and derision, a campaign to make us fearful of each other so that we can't see each other's humanity, a campaign that is providing cover for people who are now taking their political differences and going to the next extreme to create political violence. This is unacceptable in civilized society. This is not the American Way."

DeSantis reiterated he's thrilled to have the president's support.

"I know he's criticized Andrew's ethics and, look, at the end of the day, I think there's a lot of problems we've seen just over the past two weeks," he said. "There are a lot of folks who came out in force for the president in 16 who may not always traditionally vote in midterm elections and to the extent that those voters are becoming reliable midterm voters for us is a huge, huge boon to us."

Both are expected to make future stops in the Bay Area. Their high-profile supporters, President Trump for DeSantis and Sen. Bernie Sanders for Gillum, have events scheduled this week in Florida.