Florida voters will get a chance to see how candidates in both the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial elections size up against each other when they take part in two debates just prior to the August primary elections.
The two debates will be held on the campus of the University of Miami and will take place August 1 and 2, less than four weeks before the primaries. The sponsor of the debates are the Children’s Movement of Florida and the Florida Press Association.
“The vision and direction offered by Florida’s next governor will dramatically affect the lives of Floridians in every part of our state – from children to the elderly,” said David Lawrence Jr., chair of The Children’s Movement. “These debates let voters hear what the candidates think on critical issues ranging from early childhood education, health care, environmental protection, and public safety to jobs and economic development.”
Both the Republican and Democratic debates will be held on successive evenings and will be conducted before a live audience of 600, in addition to a statewide television audience. The debates will be aired by TV stations in Florida’s 10 media markets.
Criteria for candidates to qualify for participation in the debates are expected to be announced shortly. The major candidates from both parties are expected to appear. So far, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are the two announced major candidates for the GOP primary. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is expected to announce his candidacy soon. For the Democrats, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando area businessman Chris King are the candidates who have announced they will seek their party’s nomination.
“With a long, diverse list of candidates already announced or expected to get into the race, we’re anticipating vigorous primary campaigns with thoughtful discussion of the issues in these vital debates,” said Dean Ridings, the president and CEO of the Florida Press Association. “This is a very effective way for Florida voters to compare and contrast the candidates, side-by-side, and to see and hear their ability to present a plan that can take us all into the best possible future.”
The following TV stations are part of the statewide consortium that will televise the August debates:
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale —WFOR (CBS)
West Palm Beach ——–WPBF (ABC)
Jacksonville —————-First Coast News
Tampa/St. Pete————WFLA (NBC)
Panama City—————-WMBB (ABC)
Fort Myers——————-Either WBBH (NBC) or WZVN (ABC)