The only gubernatorial debate in Florida’s 2022 election cycle, pitting Governor Ron DeSantis and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist has been postponed. Not that it matters, anyway, since the race is all but over. Ron DeSantis will be your governor for a second term, no matter if there is a debate or not.
The official reason for the cancellation, given by WPEC, the West Palm Beach CBS affiliate hosting the event, is that the station wanted all Floridians, including those in the hurricane zone, to have the opportunity to watch it. Undoubtedly there are tens of thousands of Floridians with tarps stretched over their shredded roofs who are now breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t be forced to miss the spectacle.
Incidentally, the reason for the cancellation of the debate is also a big part of the reason that the 2022 governor’s race is over: Hurricane Ian. With television cameras from South Florida to Northern Oregon and everywhere in between filming DeSantis doing what Florida governors do in the aftermath of a hurricane – specifically, acting gubernatorial – there is no oxygen left in the room for Charlie Crist. The former governor who wants his old job back is currently relegated to photo ops handing out water bottles in the disaster zone, because his campaign doesn’t have enough money to afford to film him flying over the destruction in a helicopter of his own.
In the next four weeks between now and election day, DeSantis will enjoy the privilege of being seen all over the state doing the job he was elected to do. He no longer needs to campaign, because his day can and should be quite full of gubernatorial tasks that Floridians expect and need him to fulfill. Going to a debate when there are bridges out, entire homes missing, and lives lost seems an unnecessary luxury, especially when the race was already an electoral blowout by Florida standards.
A recent poll by Mason Dixon showing DeSantis with a staggering 11-point lead only further cements the point. If there was any doubt remaining, I’ll let NBC News‘ Marc Caputo drive it home with how he characterized the current state of the race:
In short, anyone who can fog a mirror can predict the outcome of this race a whole lot better than the National Hurricane Center predicted where Ian would make landfall. Charlie Crist is finished. Stick a fork in him. The race is unofficially over.
Of course, there are those who might cling to the notion that four weeks is an eternity in politics, and that anything can happen in that span. And such people are not wrong. But barring some unforeseeable political bombshell, an October Surprise the magnitude of which we’ve likely never seen in modern Florida politics, DeSantis can’t possibly screw up so badly that he loses this contest.
And that brings me to the original point: why bother “postponing” a pointless debate when it can just be cancelled?