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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rallies for votes for November election

'We are fighting for the soul of this country,' DeSantis says in Hialeah
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Hialeah on Aug. 23, 2022.jpg
Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 23:15:01-04

HIALEAH, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn't have a Republican challenger in Tuesday's primary election, but he still hit the campaign trail to rally for votes for the November general election.

"By you coming out in full force this November, we will send a message to this man in the White House that we are fighting back against his destructive policies, and Florida will be the vanguard of freedom in this country," DeSanris said during a "Keep Florida Free" rally in Hialeah.

DeSantis focused much of his speech on education and parental rights, as well as keeping critical race theory out of classrooms.

"We are fighting for the soul of this country," DeSantis said. "When you talk about education, not indoctrination, what does that mean? It means teaching people what it means to be an American.

Calling Florida a "citadel of freedom," DeSantis touted his policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the Sunshine State put limited lockdowns and restrictions in place, which the governor said protected jobs, businesses, and education.

"Florida led the way over the last few years," DeSantis said. "While so many governors and mayors were trying to lock people down, here in Florida we lifted people up."

WATCH: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Hialeah

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Hialeah

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DeSantis has a war chest of campaign dollars totaling more than $180 million as he seeks a second term as Florida's governor.

Speaking in Hialeah on Tuesday, DeSantis touted his record and spoke about his support for parents, law enforcement, and promised to generate the biggest Republican turnout the state has ever seen.

"At the end of the day, we were not going to let this state be overrun by woke ideology," DeSantis said. "We will fight the woke in the businesses, in government agencies, fight the woke in our schools, and never surrender to the woke agenda. Florida is the state where woke goes to die."

Last week, DeSantis traveled to Ohio to rally support for two Republican candidates, which offered a glimpse into a possible presidential run.

On the Democratic side, Charlie Crist defeated Nikki Fried, Cadance Daniel, and Robert Willis in Tuesday's primary and will challenge DeSantis in the November general election.

Rubio, meanwhile, is running unopposed on the Republican ticket and is seeking a third term as U.S. senator from Florida.

Campaign finance reports show Rubio has hauled in more than $36 million. His Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, has brought in $47 million.

In Hialeah on Tuesday, Rubio characterized Demings as an instrument of the Democratic party with little to show for her five years in office.

"My opponent is a congresswoman by the name of Val Demings. She's been there for six years and she's voted with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time," Rubio said.

WATCH: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in Hialeah

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in Hialeah

Demings, the former Orlando police chief, is looking to make history as Florida's first African American U.S. senator.

"I stand before you tonight believing in the promise of America," Demings said during her victory speech Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, delivers a victory speech on Aug. 23, 2022.jpg
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, delivers a victory speech on Aug. 23, 2022.

The latest RealClearPolitics average has Rubio ahead by 5.8 points.