TRUST INDEX: Fact checking claims made during the DeSantis/Newsom debate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom squared off in a contentious debate Thursday night and News4JAX is running two of the statements made through the Trust Index. The two clashed on several issues including the economy, and gun control, and the city of Jacksonville was mentioned in the governors’ discussion of crime rates.

“Go to places like Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, the murder rate is off the charts as compared to cities like San Francisco,” Governor Newsom said.

The California Governor talked about the River City specifically, making this claim about Jacksonville’s murder rate compared to one of the most populated cities in California.

“The murder rate in Jacksonville, Florida, compared to San Francisco is 126% higher,” he said.

While Newsom didn’t provide any context about the timeframe he was referring to, News4JAX started digging into homicide statistics as reported by the FBI.

Jacksonville’s homicide rate for 2022 was 12 per 100,000 people. San Francisco’s homicide rate during the same period was 6.8 per 100,000 people. The News4JAX Trust Index team is rating this statement as BE CAREFUL, while Jacksonville’s latest homicide rate is almost double San Francisco’s, we don’t know specifically what time frame Newsom was referring to in the debate.

News4JAX also looked into the statement Governor DeSantis made about Florida’s COVID-19 death rate compared to California’s.

“Florida had a lower standardized COVID death rate than California did. That’s a Lancet study thing, one more thing. The other thing we had, and the other thing California had, a higher excess mortality than Florida,” DeSantis said.

According to the CDC, in 2020, Florida’s age-adjusted COVID mortality rate was 56.4 per 100,000 people. And California’s was 68.7 per 100,000 people.

But the following year, in 2021, Florida saw a spike in COVID-19 deaths over the summer as the Delta variant spread. That year, Florida’s mortality rate was 111.7 per 100,000 people and California’s was at 99.9 per 100,000 people.

The News4JAX Trust Index Team rates this statement BE CAREFUL as we don’t know exactly what timeframe Governor DeSantis was referring to during the debate.

The two governors covered a multitude of issues, in what was billed as the “Great Red State Vs. Great Blue State debate.” DeSantis and Newsom have expressed over the years a plan to debate each other and it finally happened. And while DeSantis is running for president, Newsom has not announced a run for president but many expect him to run in four years.

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