Twitter drags Trump-backed Florida candidate for racist comment

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DeSantis may not have apologized for his "monkey" comment Wednesday, but Fox News revisited it.

"The manufactured outrage has got to stop", DeSantis told host Laura Ingraham.

DeSantis said Gillum was "articulate spokesman" for "far left views".

During an appearance on MSNBC, guest Mark Thompson compared the comments to calling Gillum a rascist label.

Florida is the country's third most populous state after California and Texas and will be a decisive vote in the next presidential election, where the USA president won by just one percentage point in 2016.

Gillum is the mayor of Tallahassee.

For a second day in a row, the Florida governor's race played out over the national airwaves, as Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) continued to spar over whether the phrase "monkey this up" is racially charged.

In a sign that the next 10 weeks could eclipse past campaigns in the nation's largest political battleground, Florida's race for governor swiftly became heated and personal after the surprising primary victories of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

"If you rely on 2016 polling techniques to predict races, you're going to lose", says Pat Reilly, Co-founder of Change Research, the firm the Gillum campaign relied on for its internal surveys.

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"Yeah, that part wasn't lost on me, " Gillum said when asked about DeSantis' remarks.

Also in Florida, current governor Rick Scott won the Republican Senate nomination and is set to take on Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in November.

"I don't regret a moment or a dollar spent on this election", Greene said in a statement Tuesday night.

A Fox News anchor said the network did not "condone this language", while pointing viewers to the clarifying statement from the DeSantis campaign. Overall crime was down in Tallahassee a year ago but the city saw a spike in homicides.

"This has nothing to do with color, gender, or any other identifying characteristic", he said. If elected, Gillum would be Florida's first black governor.

"Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses", Lawson said. "He knows what he's saying, I'm not giving him a pass and I don't think anyone should", she said. "In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls.

"In the governor's race, there is massive gender gap with Gillum leading among women by 21 and DeSantis leading among men by 13", Ulvert noted.

At the White House, Mr Trump told reporters he had not heard about Mr DeSantis's comments, and praised the Republican candidate as "extraordinary".

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