BRADENTON – Governor Rick Scott has agreed to three debates with likely Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, but has turned down at least four other proposed debates, including all of those proposed by Florida news outlets. Crist says three debates are not enough opportunity for people to see them square off, though the number is in line with past races.
Scott says he’s willing to participate in a debate on Spanish language station Telemundo on October 10, business group Leadership Florida's debate on October 15, and a CNN debate on October 21.
The governor debated Democrat Alex Sink three times prior to the 2010 election, while Crist debated his 2006 opponent Jim Davis twice.
Four other proposed debates – Spanish language network Univision; Florida NBC affiliates; the Tampa Tribune/Florida’s Public Radio Network; and the Tampa Bay Times/Florida CBS affiliates – were agreed to by Crist but not Scott.
In a press conference after Scott's announcement, Crist called for a “town hall-style debate” in which Scott could be asked about education cuts during his administration, as well as his role in his former company's admitted Medicare fraud, which took place under his watch.
Crist still faces a challenge in his party's primary from former state Senator Nan Rich, who says she would continues to be disappointed that Crist refuses to her the debate between them that Democratic voters want. Crist, however, stood by his refusal to debate Rich once, even as he chastised Scott for agreeing to only three encounters.
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