With the November election a little over seven months away, plans to hold two debates featuring the major nominees for governor and senate were announced Tuesday morning. Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, the sponsors of the debates, unveiled the details during a conference call.
Both twin debates, called “Decision 2018: Before You Vote,” will be held on the campus of Broward College, on October 23 & 24. That’s two weeks before voters go to the poll to cast their ballots.
“It wasn’t that long ago that Florida voters decided the presidency, and this year we could simultaneously help determine the direction of the U.S. Senate and of the third largest state in the nation,” said Leadership Florida Board Chair Beth Kigel. “Florida’s elections are among the most crucial in the nation this year, and our debates will surely be one of the best ways for voters to see the candidates present themselves and challenge their opponents.”
The debates will be broadcast in each of Florida’s 10 major media markets on select network affiliate broadcast partners. Criteria for candidates to qualify for participation in the debates will be announced soon.
In the contest for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is expected to be challenged by Gov. Rick Scott. It’s believed that an announcement from Scott that he will enter the race will come next Monday.
The race for governor on the Republican side includes Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is expected to announce his candidacy soon.
On the Democratic side, the candidates include former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King.
The nominees from both major parties are expected to appear in the debates.
“The key to an informed electorate is a full and open discussion of the issues, and it’s vitally important that Florida voters understand their choices when deciding who will serve us in the U.S. Senate and the Governor’s Office in the coming years,” said Dean Ridings, president & CEO of the Florida Press Association. “We are proud to provide a quality, trusted forum for the kind of meaningful debate the framers had in mind when they established our system of government so long ago.”
The debates will be aired statewide on the following television stations:
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale —WFOR (CBS)
West Palm Beach ——–WPBF (ABC)
Jacksonville —————-First Coast News — either WTLV (NBC) or WJXX (ABC)
Tampa/St. Pete————WFLA (NBC)
Panama City—————-WMBB (ABC)
Fort Myers——————-Either WBBH (NBC) or WZVN (ABC)