DeSantis knocks Gillum over comment that some see Florida as 'uh-oh' state

GOP Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida governor suspends mayor over allegations of attempted murder Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Trump bans abortion providers from family planning program | White House doesn't back GOP governor on drug imports | HHS declines to provide witnesses for family separations hearing White House doesn't back DeSantis on drug importation from Canada MORE on Monday seized on comments from his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, in which Gillum said he hopes to change the view among some that Florida is viewed as the "uh-oh state."

DeSantis, a former House lawmaker, was referencing comments from Gillum circulated in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, which published video from the candidate's recent rally in Orlando.

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"We’re going to have the state that is the marvel of many," Gillum said. "Too often Florida is seen as always the uh-oh state. Uh oh, they’ve done it again. Uh oh, they can’t run elections. Uh oh, we got close enough, but we couldn’t get past it."

"We’re gonna change that narrative on November sixth," he added.

The race to replace outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is shaping up to be hard-fought.

DeSantis sparked backlash last month when he urged voters to reject Gillum, who is black, by warning them not to "monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”

Critics viewed the comment as racially charged and called on DeSantis to apologize. The congressman has downplayed the criticism, asserting the comment had "zero to do with race."

A few days later, Gillum was the target of a racist robocall from an out-of-state white supremacist group, which DeSantis's campaign condemned.

A RealClearPolitics average of polls indicates that Gillum leads in the race by 2.5 percentage points.

DeSantis, who has earned the support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE, announced earlier Monday that he was resigning from the House immediately to focus on the campaign.