DeSantis and Mark Levin Moderate CD 7 GOP Congressional Debate

DeSantis and Mark Levin Moderate CD 7 GOP Congressional Debate

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
July 24, 2022

HOLLYWOOD, FL— The highly anticipated debate in Florida’s Republican congressional District 7 race was the first order of business at the Sunshine Summit that was hosted by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the debates and even sat in on two of the debates to help Conservative TV Host Mark Levin moderate the events.

Seven candidates took part in the debate—Erika Benfield, Rusty Roberts, Cory Mills, Brady Duke, Scott Sturgill, Anthony Sabatini, and Al Santos.

The debate started off with Levin asking Rep. Anthony Sabatini what he would do on “Day 1” as a member of Congress.

Sabatini’s response came to no one’s surprise when the firebrand legislator egregiously invoked Gov. DeSantis in an apparent effort to “kiss the governor’s ass” as one bystander put it.

Sabatini pledged that he would “join the Freedom Caucus” in the House of Representatives if elected to Congress to “root out the corruption.” Sabatini believes that the Freedom Caucus is the only group of members of Congress that can do that.

Sabatini also said he was a “liberty-loving Conservative” when asked if he was a Libertarian or Conservative.

A seemingly polished Brady Duke, a “scary looking dude,” as Levin referred to him as used his background as a 10-year Navy SEAL to make the case for why he was the best choice to go to Congress.

“I have a master’s degree in teamwork. I know how to work in a team environment and actually get people on the side of my opinion and my position and to have a dialogue that is actually thoughtful and logical that is going to move the ball forward,” said Duke.

“Brady Duke, you are a scary-looking dude, you are big,” said a laughing Levin.


On the issue of immigration, all of the candidates said that the ongoing “Biden Border Crisis” need to be addressed and illegal immigration needed to be stopped in its tracks.

Aside from Sabatini calling for “mass deportations,” businessman Scott Sturgill made one of the strongest cases for border security.

“We're not allowing law enforcement to do their job we need to make sure that they have every tool in all the funding they need so that they can secure the border they can keep us safe from human trafficking,” said Sturgill.  “Trafficking is one of the biggest problems facing this country today.”

But Sturgill’s pro-immigration position drastically contradicts a statement he made in 2018, where he expressed his support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In an interview with Central Florida’s “Political Connections,” Sturgill made his case.

“99% of the immigrants who are here are just trying to make things better for their family. Yeah did they come here illegally? Yes. But should we hold that against them? No.”

Sturgill said he believes illegal immigrants should be given “three months” get figure things out and be levied a “penalty” in order to be able to stay in the country.

“My proposal would be, again give him three months to get their ducks in a row, get going through the process because the immigration paperwork processes along time it's an 18 to 24-month process. Let's find out some kind of a penalty that they'll have to pay and then let's let him try to achieve the American dream,” said Sturgill.

“How do we bring citizenry to people and expect them to be law-abiding citizens already shown they'll violate our last game here,” questioned Mills.


Impeaching President Biden

As to be expected, all the candidates support impeaching President Joe Biden.

Santos: “Yes”

Roberts: “Yes sir”

Benfield: “Absolutely yes”

Duke: “Yes sir”

Sabatini: “Yes”

Mills: “Absolutely yes.”

Mills qualified his “yes” by saying that he had the reason to impeach Biden.

“I actually have the reason for impeachment because I was the one that went to Afghanistan and rescued some of the Americans that he left behind,” said Mills.


Not all the candidates were asked about the issue of abortion and the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, but they all have stated that they are pro-life.

Duke has 5 kids, so you know where he stands on this issue. Benfield stated that she was “the most pro-life candidate in this race.”

“The constitution does not say anything about abortion,” said Benfield. “What this Roe vs. Wade has done is given the control back to the people closest to the States.”

Roberts, who served over 25 years in Congress for two members of Congress, agreed with Benfield that the decision of having an abortion should be left to the States, but warned about “totally” banning abortion.

“I do believe that it would be an error to have a Constitutional Amendment to totally ban abortion,” said Roberts.


Santos said that men in women’s sports were “not negotiable,” and that they should not be allowed to compete in any woman’s sport, at any level.

Duke, who is also a pastor, invoked God, a tactic that surely triggered Progressive Democrats who support the current Transgender sports narrative.

“God made a man a woman and I think women hold a very special place in our families and in our society and our economy,” said Duke as he made echoed what Santos said about men being allowed to compete in women’s sports.


Foreign Policy

Santos said he is the only one on the stage with real experience in foreign policy and added that a U.S. Military buildup was needed to compete with the growing Chinese military. Santos added that the U.S. needs to build at least “600 Navy ships.”

“I don’t think we should get into very many proxy wars” I believe we are in a proxy war right now,” said Roberts. “We need to take care of our friends.”

Sturgill did not mince his words when it came to supporting Israel, saying that the U.S. needed to lead with “diplomacy through strength.”

“Israel is our most important ally. We need to support them because Palestinians are absolutely terrorists,” said Sturgill.

Mills’ foreign policy answer was arguably the most concise, well-received, and applauded statement. Gov. DeSantis was seen smiling and nodding his head in approval of Mills’ remarks. Sabatini can also be seen in the video agreeing with Mills' position.

“We have to understand our enemy, and let me be very clear, this is not about a kinetic warfare area. This is about economic resource warfare. What we see now is a geopolitical alignment of Russia, China, and Iran and their whole plan is to cut off the economic supply for America, said Mills.  “They want to eliminate the US dollar from the global currency. They want to take over and create one road, one belt initiative which is taking over and expanding Eurasian borders, what Ukraine was about…”

Sabatini tangled with Levin on Ukraine. Levin called Sabatini’s position on Ukraine “the most radical position” he had ever heard.

While Sabatini called out Elites for being responsible for all of the nation's problems, Levin abruptly cut Sabatini off and harshly said, "I'm not the politician, you're the guy who is running for office.  I consider you an elite."

The exchange was nothing less than testy.


Term Limits

Sabatini was the first to sign the U.S. Term Limits pledge. Others like Mills and Roberts signed the pledge as well.

Santos said that if elected he would only serve two terms in Congress. “Two terms and that’s it,” said Santos

Benfield said that there should be a “ticking clock” for all elected officials, adding that if Gov. DeSantis and other elected officials have term limits, why shouldn’t members of Congress have them.

Mills stated that he supported a Constitutional Amendment to mandate congressional term limits. Duke agreed, saying that he would “fight for it from Day 1.”

Both Sturgill and Roberts believe that 3-4 terms is the maximum people should serve in Congress.

All of the candidates were well received and many of the one-liners and positions received loud cheers and applause.

The loudest applause came when Mills mentioned his combat experience and when he said that he would be donating his congressional salary to charity, and when he said that he would push legislation to ban members of Congress from buying and selling stocks while in office.

Gov. DeSantis once again expressed his support for Mill’s response.

“It's been seven years in Iraq I spent three years in Afghanistan I've been blown up twice. I'm a bronze star.. I’m not even taking a salary,” said Mills.

“This is about restoring the constitutionality of this nation”-Brady Duke

On August 10th, The Floridian and the Seminole Republican Women’s, Federated club will be hosting a debate with all (8) of the Republican congressional candidates in CD 7. Click Here to learn more.

The primary election is on August 23.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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