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It is uncertain whether this comment by DeSantis will harm his chances of winning. "But I think he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that in today's day and age Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and division.

DeSantis accused Gillum and Democrats of trying to "obscure" the debate on policy differences between the two candidates by calling out what many, including Florida Democratic party chairman Terry Rizzo, saw as a classic racial dog whistle. Gillum is seeking to become the state's first black governor.

If Gillum becomes governor in Florida and Democrats win majority control of the U.S. House in the midterm elections, his victory nearly certainly means the Democrats will lose whatever inhibitions they may have about impeaching the president.

Both DeSantis and Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor who was the surprise victor in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, have begun the general-election campaign by re-emphasizing their support among the parties' most-ardent "base" voters. "So let's keep it going", DeSantis said.

Gillum said he believes DeSantis was "playing a bit of the race card there", adding: "He can be better than that".

The Florida gubernatorial election will be held on November 6.

"We're going to be wildly successful at getting more black voters, brown voters, young voters, poor voters, working class white voters to get out and vote for us", Gillum said.

The Florida Democratic Party decried Mr. DeSantis' comment as racist, an allegation his camp called absurd.

While Tallahassee and Leon County continue to have the highest crime rate in Florida, the total number of crimes actually decreased during Gillum's term.

"This has nothing to do with color, gender, or any other identifying characteristic", he said. "There will absolutely be a part of this that I can't even put words to around what it might mean for my children and other people's kids".

DeSantis was most likely referring to Gillum's campaign promise to increase corporate-tax in the state to pay for a billion-dollar boost in public-education spending.

"We are going to remind this nation of what is truly the American way", said Andrew Gillum, asking the crowd of supporters if they were ready to flip Florida blue. He entered the governor's race a month after Trump's December tweet that he would make "a GREAT governor".

Abrams, a former minority leader in the George House, faces Brian Kemp, Georgia's secretary of state. Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, called ICE a "terrorist organization" and said it should be abolished.