Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum slammed Republican opponent Ron DeSantis Thursday for repeatedly calling him by his first name during two gubernatorial debates.
“I met him for the first time the other night and then all of a sudden, without invitation, he was calling me only as Andrew,” the Tallahassee mayor told college students at the historically black Florida Memorial University. “Between the two of us, he quit his job in Congress, I’m a sitting mayor, and he had the nerve to address me only as Andrew?” Gillum said. “I wanted to correct him, y’all, but I didn’t want to be petty. So, we just we pushed all the way through.”
The New York Times reported in 2012 how difficult it can be for candidates to decide what to call each other during debates. While most tend to err on the side of formality, referring to one's opponent by their first name is not all that uncommon.
During the first debate between Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain of Arizona in 2008, Mr. Obama all but ignored Mr. McCain’s decades as a senator, perhaps hoping not to draw too much of a contrast to his own short tenure in the chamber.
Almost every time Mr. Obama referred to his rival during that debate, he simply used his first name.
“I don’t know where John is getting his figures,” Mr. Obama said at one point. Another time, he said: “John, nobody is denying that $18 billion is important.” Later, he spoke directly to Mr. McCain, saying: “John, 10 days ago, you said that the fundamentals of the economy are sound.”
In all, Mr. Obama used Mr. McCain’s first name 25 times. By contrast, Mr. McCain referred to Mr. Obama as “Senator Obama” or “the senator” each time. (NYT)
One thing Gillum avoided calling DeSantis directly during the debate was a racist, but he implied it by saying, "racists believe he's a racist," even pinning the moment as his top tweet.
As my grandmother used to say — a hit dog will holler. pic.twitter.com/kC34Ldd0is— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 25, 2018
The two are locked in a tight race, with RealClearPolitics's average of polls showing Gillum up by 4.5 points.