Get ready for a Republican Senate debate.
On Wednesday, Palm Beach Atlantic University announced it planned to host a televised GOP debate on Aug. 23. The debate — which is being organized by the LeMieux Center for Public Policy and the Palm Beach County Young Republicans — comes just one week before the primary.
“The importance of this debate is to give Floridians an opportunity to get to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues, and what better place than right here at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where leadership and service are the core of its mission,” said former Sen. George LeMieux in a statement.
The debate will be held at the Rubin Arena at the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation at Palm Beach Atlantic University. WPEC-CBS 12 will televise the debate, as well as other broadcasters across the state.
“We are proud to bring this debate to viewers across the state, on-air and online, so voters can make an informed decision in the primary,” said Michael Pumo, the general manager of WPEC.
Five Republicans — Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox — are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.
In a statement Wednesday, a spokesman for the Beruff campaign said it was reviewing invites as they come in, but hasn’t “committed to that event as of yet.” Spokesmen for Jolly and Wilcox said both men plan to attend the debate.
In a statement, a spokesman for DeSantis said the campaign has not “confirmed participation in any debates yet,” but the campaign looks “forward to Floridians learning about Ron DeSantis’s proven conservative record.”
All five candidates are expected to appear together at a forum in Boca Raton on Thursday.
Mary Ann Mancuso, the president of Palm Beach County Young Republicans, said the partnership with her organization and the LeMieux Center for Public Policy recognizes “the importance millennials will play in this upcoming election cycle.”
“This race is an important one for our state as we continue work toward our shared vision for a better tomorrow,” she said in a statement.
The race to replace Rubio is one of the most closely watched Senate races this election cycle. While some Senate Republicans have urged Rubio to run for re-election, Rubio has repeatedly said he will not run for re-election.
But according to a statewide survey by Associated Industries of Florida, Rubio was the best bet for Republicans in the U.S. Senate race. In a hypothetical matchup between Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, Rubio would receive 49 percent to Murphy’s 41 percent.
That same survey found Murphy defeated all of the current Republican candidates in hypothetical head-to-head matchups.
Murphy faces Alan Grayson in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.