AccessWDUN sat down with UNG Political Science Professor Carl Cavalli to learn more about the upcoming debate between California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The two governors are set to square off on the debate stage in Alpharetta on Thursday evening at 9 p.m. with Fox News political commentator Sean Hannity acting as moderator. AccessWDUN spoke with Political Science Professor Carl Cavalli, who teaches at the University of North Georgia, ahead of the debate to get the scoop on why the pair are debating.
“It's definitely not commonplace to have, a year before the election, prominent members of the two major political parties debating each other,” Cavalli said. “I expect it to be very explosive, these are two people with very, very different visions for their states and for the United States. We know that Ron DeSantis has presidential ambitions. It is almost certain that Gavin Newsom has presidential ambitions.”
Cavalli noted that what voters see Thursday night could be a preview of what they will see during the election cycle in 2028.
DeSantis may be using the debate as a way to gain additional traction as he campaigns on the presidential trail, according to Cavalli. Given that the only two participants in this debate will be Newsom and DeSantis, Cavalli said DeSantis may try to sling-shot his presence ahead of other Republican presidential candidates.
“This is now more an opportunity for him [DeSantis] to get back in the race against the others, rather than to sort of take a step forward and compete directly with Trump,” Cavalli said. “For Gavin Newsom, I think that this is maybe sort of a test of the waters. He's become more and more prominent nationally, but he's still somebody that most Americans don't know who he is. And this will be a first shot with really very little for Newsom to lose right now, to get his name and face out there on the public stage.”
Some of the prominent topics Cavalli predicts will be discussed include the conflict in the Middle East, immigration and the economy.
As for the reasoning behind choosing Georgia as the site for the debate, Cavalli noted it could be due to the rising title the Peach State is garnering in becoming a presidential battleground location.
“One-on-one means a much more detailed and in-depth debate, unlike these ones, where you have 10 people on the stage at once, and you get 30 seconds to answer a question, and you get five other people trying to jump in at the same time,” Cavalli said.
There will be no audience for this debate, which Cavalli said might improve the overall quality of the responses seen from the two governors.
WDUN radio will be broadcasting the debate via AM 550 and FM 102.9 on Thursday starting at 9 p.m.