The DeSantis-Newsom debate came to an abrupt conclusion following an unexpected announcement from Hannity for a last-minute extension.

The DeSantis-Newsom debate came to an abrupt conclusion following an unexpected announcement from Hannity for a last-minute extension.

As the debate between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

As Thursday evening was coming to an end, shortly after the previously agreed upon 90 minutes had passed, Fox News moderator Sean Hannity inquired if the two participants would be willing to engage in another debate. In response to Newsom’s statement that he could continue debating all night, Hannity offered to extend the debate to a total of two hours.

However, following a brief pause for advertisements, Hannity stated that unfortunately, the two individuals would not be able to continue their discussion. A source close to DeSantis who was backstage, along with another individual present at the event but not associated with either campaign, reported that Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, had unexpectedly joined the stage during the final commercial break. This occurred after Hannity appeared to have obtained an agreement from both governors to proceed with the debate, and she ultimately ended it on behalf of her husband.

According to a source close to DeSantis, Jennifer Siebel Newsom also interjected during breaks in the debate to voice her concerns about the proceedings and called attention to a comment made by DeSantis regarding her parents’ relocation from California to Florida amidst the pandemic.

NBC News and Politico.  

“Last night, Gavin Newsom suffered a major defeat and his wife had to intervene. It was a humiliating moment,” stated Andrew Romeo, communications director for DeSantis.

However, a member of Newsom’s staff refuted the claim that his wife was the cause of the sudden conclusion of the debate. They stated that both campaigns had agreed to end it at that time. Newsom mentioned this to journalists in the spin room following the debate, saying, “I believe everyone began to feel anxious on both sides. Therefore, I believe everyone had other obligations to attend to.”

The Newsom staffer stated that they brought up multiple concerns to Fox. One of them was that the visual aids DeSantis used during the event were supposed to be against the agreed-upon rules.

During the debate, DeSantis displayed two sheets of paper. One contained a page from the book “Gender Queer,” which he referred to as “pornography” and argued should not be taught in schools. The other was a map covered in brown, depicting a “poop map.” DeSantis explained that it was a map of San Francisco, showing locations where human feces had been found on the streets.

A representative from Fox News stated that the term “props” was not mentioned prior to the debate. According to the spokesperson, the final agreement stated that neither side could utilize multimedia production. This was a discussion about whether or not each side wanted to create a brief production highlighting their state’s strengths at the beginning of the debate.


During a Fox News debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom on November 30, 2023, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displayed a graphic depicting the location of “human feces found on the streets of San Francisco.”

The team of Newsom also expressed dissatisfaction with DeSantis for communicating with his wife, Casey DeSantis, and a staff member during breaks, a behavior that was not allowed by Fox. Meanwhile, Newsom’s team stated that he did not engage with any staff members during the debate.

According to an aide of Newsom, DeSantis had access to a teleprompter displaying the questions that would be asked by Hannity. However, a spokesperson from Fox News refuted this claim and both candidates were not given the opportunity to view the debate questions beforehand or during the debate.

The team of the governor of California stated that Hannity had previously stated he would not use any visual aids during the debate. However, during the debate, Hannity displayed multiple full-screen graphics comparing the COVID response, homelessness rates, and other factors between California and Florida. A spokesperson from Fox News clarified that Hannity had clearly communicated his intention to use full-screen visuals and had mentioned it multiple times before the debate.

According to Fox News, Newsom’s team made a late request on the day of the debate to not use any video sound bites, which was granted before the debate.

Fox News representatives responded to claims made by NBC News and Politico by refuting the allegation of a teleprompter being provided for DeSantis and stating that the use of props was not a topic of discussion. Fox News did, however, stipulate that both parties refrain from using “multimedia production,” and clarified that Hannity had previously stated he would utilize graphics during the debate.