The four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor will face off in their first debate Wednesday afternoon in Tampa.
The showdown between former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King will be live streamed by WTVT-TV in Tampa around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. It will also be available on the WTVT’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The 30 minute debate will be rebroadcast at 6:30 p.m. on WTVT.
Recent polls have shown Levine to be the frontrunner for his party’s nomination. A poll conducted for Edge Communications by Public Policy Polling (PPP), a North Carolina firm that leans more Democratic, shows Levine leading the contest with the support of 29 percent of the voters surveyed. He’s followed by Graham with 23 percent. Gillum received 8 percent and King 4 percent.
Levine’s senior adviser, Christian Ulvert is President of Edge Communications.
The Capitolist’s Horserace Index, which uses a weighted formula to provide an average of the polls conducted to date, shows Levine leading the race by 3 percent over Graham. Levine has 19.3 percent compared to Graham’s 16.1 percent.
The candidates are expected to be asked about school safety and mental health issues during Wednesday’s afternoon’s debate in light of the mass school shooting in Parkland in February in which 17 students and teachers were killed. Other topics expected to be discussed include crime and hurricane preparedness.
“This debate will be an opportunity for voters to see and hear the candidates in an unfiltered environment, on the station that has been a leader in political coverage in Florida,” said WTVT General Manager Jeff Maloney in a news release.