Republican Ron DeSantis on Wednesday played down poll numbers and said "everything is going in a good direction" in the Florida gubernatorial race against his Democratic challenger, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
"I’m not worried about polls. I’m worried about votes,” the former representative told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham after a heated debate. "We've had a very good showing. We’re turning out the voters we need to. We’re going to continue to do it."
DeSantis, who is trailing Gillum by about six percentage points in a Real Clear Politics average, told Fox News he does not rely on the polls in the media.
"I go by our polling, our targeting, and everything is going in a good direction,” he said. “And, I think the reason is because you have a candidate like Andrew, he is running on abolishing ICE. He said last debate he would not cooperate with ICE at all.”
The two candidates sparred during their second and final debate Wednesday, calling for unity and bemoaning the collapse of political discourse.
There was also name-calling.
Gillum, a frequent critic of President Trump, called DeSantis, an outspoken Trump supporter, a liar who should be disqualified from being elected. He also charged DeSantis with running dishonest ads, specifically over the issue of immigration.
DeSantis, on the other hand, hit Gillum over the mayor’s acceptance of tickets to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” from an undercover FBI agent in the summer of 2016 – a revelation in documents made public on Tuesday in connection with a state ethics commission probe.”
“Release the receipts, it’s that simple,” Gillum said, accusing DeSantis of using taxpayer money to travel.
The records include text messages between Gillum and former lobbyist Adam Corey. An attorney for Corey turned over the documents to the ethics panel in response to a subpoena. The commission has been investigating a complaint brought against Gillum related to trips he took to Costa Rica and New York City.
Gillum has asserted that he paid for all expenses related to both trips, as Fox News previously reported.
“I arrived at the theater and received the ticket from my brother,” Gillum said during the debate. He explained that he thought his younger brother, Marcus, had exchanged Jay-Z and Beyoncé tickets for the “Hamilton” tickets.
Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report.