There was no shortage of personal attacks in the final Florida gubernatorial debate on Wednesday, but Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum delivered one of the sharpest attacks of the night.
“Well, let me first say — my grandmother used to say, ‘a hit dog will holler,'” Gillum said of his opponent, former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.). “And it hollered through this room.”
The video clip, shared by Gillum’s campaign on Twitter, has been retweeted over 30,000 times:
As my grandmother used to say — a hit dog will holler. pic.twitter.com/kC34Ldd0is
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 25, 2018
Gillum slammed DeSantis for connections with racist groups:
“Mr. DeSantis has spoken. First of all, he’s got neo-Nazis helping him out in this state. He has spoken at racist conferences. He’s accepted a contribution — and would not return it — from someone who referred to the former president of the United States as a Muslim n-i-g-g-e-r. When asked to return that money, he said no. He’s using that money to now fund negative ads.”
“Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist,” Gillum said, “I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”
DeSantis has disavowed racist robocalls in the state of Florida that are being funded by an Idaho neo-Nazi, but other connections with racists have dogged his campaign.
The candidate also denounced a racist comment from a donor but declined to return the cash. DeSantis accepted over $20,000 from the supporter who targeted former President Barack Obama with a racial slur on Twitter.
After the clip of Gillum’s precision takedown on Wednesday began to circulate on Twitter, DeSantis was widely ridiculed. Many were quick to notice the stunned look on DeSantis’ face in the clip:
DeSantis has the look of someone who's only just realizing he's not the protagonist in his movie https://t.co/xEfZbvM5GK
— Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy) October 25, 2018
Desantis always looks like he's asking to speak to the manager and Gillum always looks like he went to get the manager and then returned and announced, "I am the manager." https://t.co/kffzw78tOy
— Brandi, #1 Shoebill Investigative Journalist (@ItsTheBrandi) October 25, 2018
Gillum’s strong debate performance also received praise on social media:
When they go low, give 'em Gillum.https://t.co/F0Tkak58ng
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 25, 2018
An interesting strategy by Gillum, here. Instead of wanly reiterating his dedication to bipartisan solutions he's just relentlessly styling on the dopey bigot running against him. https://t.co/klFNA0m5Bv
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) October 25, 2018
Did the ref stop the fight after this? Seems like that would've been the merciful/ethical thing to do. https://t.co/OJziRxTuYi
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) October 25, 2018
With under two weeks until election day, Gillum maintains a slim lead ahead of DeSantis in the polls.