Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis told Florida voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, who would be the first black governor in the state’s history.

DeSantis, who is supported by President Trump, said in a Fox News interview Wednesday that Gillum is “much too liberal for Florida” and an “articulate spokesman for those far-left views.”

“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” he said. “That’s not going to work, that’s not going to be good for Florida.”

[Opinion: Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum absolutely wallop the Florida political establishment]

A spokesperson for DeSantis told NBC News that the candidate’s phrasing was not meant as a racial slur. Instead, it’s something he says “frequently” to express when something has been messed up.

It “had nothing to do with race or anything like that,” the spokesperson said.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd," the spokesperson told the New York Times.

The Democratic Governors Association said DeSantis' comments show his real character.

"Resorting to dog whistle politics within hours of winning the GOP nomination shows a desperate candidate who will stoop to new lows in order to court and give voice to fringe elements of society," the statement read. "DeSantis has shown that he would only divide Florida."

DeSantis and Gillum both won their respective primaries in Florida on Tuesday.