Leadership Florida & Florida Press Assoc. announce details for Oct. 15 gubernatorial debate

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Voters will finally get what they have been clamoring for, a chance to see the leading candidates for Florida governor — side by side, in person – in one of the closely watched contests in the country.

Leadership Florida, in cooperation with the Florida Press Association, announced new details for “Decision 2014: Before You Vote,” the statewide televised debate between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seen as the likely winner of the Democratic nomination.

Miami-Dade/Broward CBS affiliate WFOR-TV/CBS4 will serve as producers of the one-hour discussion, which takes place Wednesday, October 15 at Broward College from 7 – 8 p.m. EST. The program, expected to reach millions of Florida voters, also will be live-streamed at www.beforeyouvote.org, as well as rebroadcast nationally by C-SPAN.

Locally, the event will be on ABC affiliates WFTS-TV/Ch. 28 in Tampa/St. Petersburg and WFTV-TV/Ch. 9 in Orlando, as well as the SunCoast News Network in Sarasota.

Representatives of the non-profit political group Leadership Florida say the format will be question and answer, as candidates face a panel of Florida journalists, moderated by WFOR anchor Eliott Rodriguez.

Formal invitations have gone out to all the major candidates, including Democratic former Sen. Nan Rich and Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie. However, producers added the caveat that they will limit participation based on the results of the August 26 Democratic primary.

The forum will appear on 11 of the major Florida commercial broadcast organizations, each a leader in its market, which makeup the “Before You Vote” network of major media outlets. This will ensure the entire state of Florida gets the opportunity to see the long-awaited face-off between Scott and Crist.

“We’re proud to produce this important dialogue between the top contenders vying to be Florida’s next governor,” said Leadership Florida chair David Armstrong, president of Broward College. “This debate will help millions of voters learn more about who these candidates are and where they stand on the issues that affect Floridians the most.”

Among the sponsors of the “Decision 2014: Before You Vote” series are Broward College, the Florida Association of Insurance Agents/Trusted Choice, AARP, the Florida League of Cities, the Claude Pepper Center and Foundation, and Florida Credit Unions.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.