Announced today by the Orange County Democratic Party, the gubernatorial debate that was set to be held in Orlando Tuesday has been canceled.
Just two candidates for Florida governor – Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park businessman Chris King – announced they would attend the debate, while former congresswoman Gwen Graham and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine decided to give Central Florida the cold shoulder.
The most recent candidate to join the Democratic pack, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, had not announced his candidacy when the Orlando debate was originally scheduled in May.
“It’s critical that Orange County voters hear about our priorities for this state, and since my opponents refuse to join me for a debate, I’m looking forward to hosting a town hall in its place on Tuesday night,” Gillum says in a statement. “Floridians need to know where we stand, and who we stand for.”
King also commented on the cancellation in a statement.
“Politics and politicians as usual have failed progressive values and ordinary Floridians for too long and Democrats deserve to judge for themselves whether the other candidates for governor offer a fresh vision and a break from the past,” King says. “That’s why I’m disappointed that some candidates in this race have refused invitations to debate in Orlando and Jacksonville. We must compete in every corner of our state and take no one for granted, and that means making sure Spanish language, African American, Caribbean and other diverse media outlets are included as well.”
Levine, one of the candidates who declined to participate, also provided comment following the announcement.
“Our campaign worked successfully with the Florida Democratic Party on a number of agreed upon debates and forums," Levine says. "After weeks of negotiations, all campaigns agreed to five debates, including a statewide televised debate that will air in Orange County. The Mayor is excited and proud to continue to share his vision for Florida and his progressive record of accomplishments directly with voters in the upcoming three debates and town halls.”
Oh well, Orlando.
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