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Guido Maniscalco says Jackie Toledo won’t debate him before Tampa City Council runoff

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Guido Maniscalco says that Jackie Toledo won’t debate him before the March 24 runoff election in the Tampa City Council District 6 race.

Earlier this week Maniscalco’s campaign manger, Bryan Farris, sent a letter to Toledo’s home and emailed her campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, asking her to participate in a debate this Saturday. Farris says he gave Toledo until this afternoon at 3 p.m. to respond, and says she had not.

“I find it distressing that my opponent does not feel that it is necessary to give the voters of District 6 the opportunity to hear from both of us, now that the race is just between us,” Maniscalco said in a statement. He went on to say, “While we both participated in several candidate forums, my opponent seldom responded directly to questions or would avoid answering questions altogether, instead merely reciting her resume ad nausem. I want to give the voters an opportunity to hear a true debate of the issues that face District 6 and the City of Tampa as a whole. It’s a shame that my opponent does not.”

Last Wednesday, the day after Toledo and Maniscalco had qualified for a runoff, this reporter invited both candidates to participate in a radio debate on WMNF’s Midpoint program this Thursday, March 12. Maniscalco said he could participate, but Toledo said she would be out of town. An opportunity for the two to engage on the radio show next Thursday, March 19, was then proposed. Maniscalco agreed to the forum, but Toledo said last Friday evening that she had a lunch event scheduled and was uncertain whether she could be available. She has not responded yet today to an inquiry about her availability for that date.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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