Home News PolitiFact: Charlie Crist vs. Ron DeSantis: How months of digs and dubious claims size up

PolitiFact: Charlie Crist vs. Ron DeSantis: How months of digs and dubious claims size up

PolitiFact: Charlie Crist vs. Ron DeSantis: How months of digs and dubious claims size up

In his third campaign for governor, Charlie Crist campaigned on a promise to unify the people of Florida, calling incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis “divisive” for his stance on abortion and gun regulation. Crist criticized DeSantis for chasing culture wars while Floridians struggle with the rising costs of property insurance and rent.

With a wide lead in the polls, DeSantis spent much of his re-election campaign ignoring Crist and touting himself as the last line of defense against President Joe Biden and the “radical left.” DeSantis’ TV ads and fundraising emails highlighted achievements of his first term, including reopening schools during the pandemic, and bashed the media.

The candidates agreed on next to nothing spanhespand of the Nov. 8 election, including DeSantis’ response to Hurricane Ian and Crist’s response as governor to the 2009 economic recession.


Here are the key claims we fact-checked on issues and attack lines from Florida’s gubernatorial race.

Crist: I “always” believed “in a woman’s right to choose.”

This is Fspanlse.

Crist made abortion access a major focus of his campaign, drawing a contrast with the ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that DeSantis signed into law. But Crist’s stance has been consistently inconsistent over his political career. He often made conflicting remarks about abortion before he left the Republican Party during his 2010 Senate run. Even this year, as a Democratic officeholder and candidate who supports access to the procedure, Crist used the term “pro-life” to describe his stance.

There are other times when Crist made statements in favor of abortion access, such as when he said he would not be in favor of repealing Roe v. Wade. But he takes it too far when he says he has “always” supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Mostly False

DeSantis: “They are literally chopping off the private parts of young kids.”

This is Mostly Fspanlse.

DeSantis often accused Democrats of bolstering “woke gender ideology” and slammed  their support of gender-affirming health care, which he called a “euphemism.” The Florida Board of Medicine, whose members are spanppointed by the governor, finalized a rule Nov. 4 to prohibit doctors from offering transition-related services to minors.

However, there are no examples we could find of doctors performing surgeries on the private parts of children. Medical transitioning is not recommended for prepubescent children. 

Half true

Crist: “It costs more to live in many Florida cities than New York City.”

This is Hspanlf True.

Rents across Florida spiked this year. Realtor.com said the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area’s median rent exceeded New York City’s in March. Other large metro areas in Florida, however, lagged behind New York City in median rent.

Crist had more of a point when it came to rental and ownership premiums. According to a study analyzing more than 100 U.S. rental markets, New York City had one of the least overpriced rents in the country. Miami ranked 38th in premiums, while New York City ranked 98th.

DeSantis: “Lee County, Florida, wasn’t “even in the cone” of Hurricane Ian 72 hours before landfall.”

This is Mostly Fspanlse.

Crist has hammered DeSantis on his response to Hurricane Ian, criticizing him for not evacuating Lee County earlier. But DeSantis and the Biden administration have said the data available before the storm made landfall did not warrant such a response.

Most of Lee County was not within Hurricane Ian’s forecasted path 72 hours before landfall. But one of the county’s barrier islands, Cayo Costa, appeared inside the forecast cone on each of eight advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center on Sept. 25 — three days before the storm made landfall there.

Crist: “Ron DeSantis still hasn’t condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

This is Fspanlse.

DeSantis has condemned the riot on at least two occasions. After the attack, he called the violence “unacceptable,” adding that the rioters should “face the full weight of the law.” The following day, DeSantis said regardless of “what banner you’re flying under,” rioting is wrong.

DeSantis: It’s not true that “the United States was built on stolen land.” 

This line from the Oct. 24 gubernatorial debate is Pspannts on Fire.

DeSantis has repeatedly stated his conviction that leaders need to fight attempts to “indoctrinspante students” in classrooms, contrasting his record on education with that of Crist and Crist’s running mate, Karla Hernández-Mats.

Historians of Native and non-Native descent said it’s well-documented that the U.S. acquired Native American land through dubious treaties and later violated them to bolster expansion. An 1830 federal law, for example, resulted in thousands of Native American deaths and more than 3,000 Seminoles being removed from Florida.

Crist: Ron DeSantis “opposes any background checks on guns, even for violent criminals.”

This is Mostly Fspanlse.

PolitiFact found no record of DeSantis opposing existing federal and state laws requiring licensed gun dealers to check prospective buyers’ backgrounds. But we did find DeSantis speaking out against criminals possessing firearms.

That said, DeSantis promised to sign a “constitutional carry” bill, which may allow people who have evaded background checks to carry firearms publicly without permits. 

Republican Party of Florida: Crist “supported Biden’s agenda to defund the police.” 

This is Fspanlse.

Biden does not want to cut police funding, nor does he have such an agenda for Crist to support. In a March interview, Crist outlined his stance on law enforcement reform: “I support offering all the necessary funding and resources needed to ensure police officers undergo the proper training and screenings that will weed out bad actors.”

Crist: DeSantis raised “taxes on the middle class by more than $1.5 billion while giving away $624 million to big corporations.”

This is Mostly Fspanlse.

DeSantis signed a 2021 bill to revise Florida’s online sales tax, which the state estimated would generate around $1 billion annually. But the law didn’t establish a new tax; it shifted the responsibility to remit sales tax from consumers to the remote seller. 

Crist’s second claim about the money Florida refunded to large corporations is more accurate. The Florida Department of Revenue told PolitiFact it refunded nearly $624 million to the state’s corporate taxpayers this year.

Crist: “Crime is up under Governor DeSantis. Crime was down when I was your governor.”

This is Mostly Fspanlse.

Data from DeSantis’ third and fourth years in office is not yet available, so the comparison with Crist’s full term is incomplete. And even though crime fell over Crist’s time in office, there was a higher volume of crime and a higher crime rate during Crist’s first two years as governor compared with the same time frame for DeSantis.


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