The real #Fangate winner — Vornado Air

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No matter which candidate fared better on stage in last week’s #Fangate debate fiasco, Rick Scott or Charlie Crist, there was one clear winner – Vornado Air.

Vornado is the brand of fan Crist used at the gubernatorial debate, and the folks at the Kansas-based fan maker know a first-class marketing opening when one blows their way.

“This is an unexpected unique opportunity for us,” Vornado Air brand and design director Brian Cartwright told Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Vornado quickly took to social media, poking a little fun at the Davie Debacle by featuring its product’s role in American political history.

The company issued a number of parodies through its Vornado Air Facebook page: “Politician’s Guide to Podium Circulation” and “Fans Throughout History.” The latter includes a series of photos of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Rutherford B. Hayes — each using Vornado fans (Photoshopped, of course).

The company also sent new fan models to both Scott and Crist.

The ongoing joke stems from Wednesday night’s Broward County debate after Scott refused to take the stage for seven minutes. Moderator Elliot Rodriguez of CBS Miami told the crowd it was because Crist had a fan under his podium.

Later, Scott denied he was rejecting the event due to the fan, but noting that Crist violated the rules. The governor claimed he did not come out because he did not know if Crist was going to continue with the debate — even after Crist appeared on stage.

Regardless of the politics, the debate opening — quickly dubbed Fangate – received national attention. Late night comedy shows and political news sites ran with the story for days, and the hashtag #Fangate went viral on social media.

Vornado is enjoying the “absurdity of it all,” Cartwright said, with the gift of fans to the candidates “an act of bipartisanship.”

Wallace noted that many political journalists knew that for years, Crist relied on fans to stay comfortable at public speaking engagements. He often used Vornado fans, but not exclusively.

CNN is hosting the third, and final, debate on Tuesday in Jacksonville. Fans — Vornado or otherwise — will not be allowed, said CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.