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Marco Rubio challenges Patrick Murphy to six televised debates

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Challenge, accepted?

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio challenged Rep. Patrick Murphy to six media-sponsored live debates before Election Day. In a letter to Murphy, Rubio said Floridians deserved to hear from both candidates.

Rubio easily won his primary Tuesday, receiving 72 percent of the vote. He’ll face Murphy — who beat Alan Grayson with 49 percent of the vote — in the November election.

“Despite our differences, I hope we can agree that voters deserve to know where we stand on the important issues of our time,” he wrote in a letter to Murphy. “I am writing because when it comes to a debate about our future, I believe Floridians today deserve no less than what they received in 2010. Therefore, I’m asking you to join me in committing to six media-sponsored live debates between now and Election Day. Just as we did in 2010, at least one of these debates should be sponsored by a Spanish-language media outlet.”

Rubio faced Democrat Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, then running as an independent, in the 2010 Senate race. The three men agreed to do six debates, hosted by different media outlets.

In a statement Wednesday, Murphy said he was “excited to debate Marco Rubio.” But Murphy appeared to stop short of agreeing to six debates, and he added his own challenge to the mix.

“His ‘challenge’ today is nothing more than a desperate attempt to try and change the campaign narrative from the fact that he abandoned Florida,” said Murphy in a statement. “I have a counter-challenge: Sen, Rubio, commit to serving a six-year term.”

Earlier this week, Rubio told CNN he couldn’t commit to a full Senate term if he wins re-election. Murphy seized on it, retweeting his comments and saying he could make that commitment.

“Clearly, Marco Rubio doesn’t understand that campaigning and debating isn’t governing. Floridians deserve better than Marco Rubio, and that difference will be on display in the upcoming debates, including the Leadership Florida debate on Oct. 26,” said Murphy. “Sen. Rubio has the worst vote attendance record of any Florida senator in nearly 50 years. He completely abandoned our state and the day after his primary victory, he has already left Florida to raise money in Texas.”

Neither Murphy nor Rubio debated their primary opponents.

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