TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The race for Florida governor got started with a bang on Wednesday.
Republican Ron DeSantis is denying that he used racially offensive language during a Fox News interview.
The comment in question came while talking about his African American opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum.
DenSantis is facing criticism from both sides of the political aisle for that choice of words, saying, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.”
His Communications Director, Stephen Lawson, released a statement today clarifying what he meant.
“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. 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,” the statement read.
The Florida Democratic Party however, is not happy.
They released a statement saying, “It’s disgusting that Ron DeSantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles.”
Tuesday’s Democratic win for Andrew Gillum is historical.
He is the first African American to get the nod for governor from a major party here in Florida.
Sean Shaw’s Democratic victory makes him the first African American to be nominated for Attorney General.
“It’s wonderful. You know, you don’t think about it. I really didn’t think about it until last night when it sort of hit me, what’s going on,” Shaw said.
Political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus said it speaks to one thing.
“It reflects the growing racial and ethnic diversity of our state and so many people have not really recognized that over half of Florida’s registered Democrats are not white.”
Shaw faces Republican Ashley Moody in the November election.