(CNSNews.com) – Polls close at 7 p.m. today in Florida, where Democrats are choosing nominees to run against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio is in a particularly tight race with U.S. Rep. Val Demings, the former Orlando police chief.
Rubio told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that Demings is a “darling of the left” who “votes with Pelosi 100 percent of the time.”
“She’s raising all this money from all these ultra-liberals who want to ruin Florida, by the way.”
Red State Florida, which largely avoided pandemic lockdowns, is now attracting Blue State residents in droves, and Rubio said it remains to be seen if these new residents are bringing their liberal politics with them:
“Well, we’ll find out with these elections,” Rubio said:
“I don’t think you move to Florida if you like the things way things are going in San Francisco or they like the way things are going in New York City.
“You don’t move to Florida to hope Florida becomes that, you move because you don’t like what’s going on over there. So I think, number one, we have a lot of people leave these other states and come to Florida because of the policies of the state legislature and because of the policies of Governor DeSantis, which are built on common sense, by the way. They are not ideological ideas.
“And then, I would add to that, Hispanic voters in the state — People say Hispanic voters, but really what they are, are working class people. These are small business owners, they’re working class people, they love America.
“They know how great America is because they know what life is like in other places, and they see a Democratic party that’s been captured by the far left, and Marxist misfits, and they don’t want any part of it. And so I think those two things have helped Republicans.”
‘We protected their freedoms’
Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox & Friends on Monday that people are moving to Florida “because we protected their freedoms.”
“We stood in the way of lock-downers like Nikki Fried (one of DeSantis’s Democrat challengers) who opposed every decision I made to protect people’s rights. And when she says you don’t have freedom of speech in the classroom, understand what she means.
“She wants to use our schools to indoctrinate students into her ideology. And our position on schools is that the purpose of the school system to educate kids, not to indoctrinate kids. So, yes, we oppose things like critical race theory in our K through 12 schools.
“We want to teach accurate history, we want to teach American civics. And we want to make sure that parents have confidence that sending their kids to school, the school’s going to be focused on the core academic subjects and not try to inject left-wing ideology into the curriculum.”
DeSantis also touted his efforts to boost teacher pay.
“Since I’ve been governor we just did the largest pay increase for teachers that we’ve ever had in Florida. When I became governor the average minimum salary was just over 40,000. With the budget we just signed it’s now over $48,000. So we’re in the top 10 for average minimum salary. If you talk about recruiting teachers, that’s what you would want to do.
“I would also just point out that Florida per-capita teacher vacancies are less than the national average and much less than states like California. You wouldn’t necessarily know that from the media because they tend to only focus on Florida with things — I wonder why that is.
“So I think we have been very smart to have gone after the average minimum salary, to raise that over the last couple of years. I do think it’s paid dividends. I think you’re going to continue to see it pay dividends. But we’re very proud we put that effort into teacher compensation.”
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