Nelson camp predicts Mack will “duck” debates again

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Rep. Connie Mack and Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaigns are locked in a debate over committing to debates, reports Nora McAlvanah.

During a Friday campaign stop in Pinellas Park, Mack told reporters he’s waiting on Nelson to accept certain debate invitations. Mack refused to give more details, instructing the press to ask “Nelson when he’s going to accept those debates.”

Later that day, Mack’s campaign sent out a press release, saying the Fort Myers Republican has accepted an offer from Gannett newspapers, WTSP-TV, and C-SPAN to debate Nelson the first week of October at the University of South Florida.

Nelson’s campaign has accepted two fall debates — one hosted by CNN and the Tampa Bay Times, which Mack has also agreed to, and another proposed by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.

Nelson’s campaign sent out an e-mail on Monday pointing out that Mack, who refused to participate in primary debates, told the Palm Beach Post he’d do the Leadership Florida debate, but has since said he’d “rather do” the Gannett debate.

“Sen. Nelson has committed to two U.S. Senate debates. Our likely GOP opponent has said previously he’d do those two, but now appears to be waffling by saying he’d rather do a different one.  Based on his track record, he’s likely to duck all of them,” said Nelson’s deputy campaign manager Marley Wilkes.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.