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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Alan Grayson, David Jolly prepare to face off in first Senate debate



It’s the first debate of the race for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat. But don’t expect to see all the candidates there.

Two of the seven men who want to replace Marco Rubio will go head to head tonight: U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and David Jolly, R-Indian Shores. It’s at 7 p.m. at the University of Central Florida but will be broadcast live online.

The debate will be sponsored by the Open Debate Coalition, which will choose questions out of the top 30 vote-getters on its website, The goal, the group says, is to ask the kinds of questions that voters are really interested in.

As of Monday morning, some of the most popular questions related to renewable energy, climate change, Social Security, campaign finance and improving the process of voting.

“The public should be empowered to conceive and select debate questions — so that questions addressed by candidates represent the will of the people,” the Open Debate Coalition's members wrote in a statement.

Many of the questions and votes, however, have come from outside the state of Florida.

Grayson is running against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, in the Democratic primary for the seat. In the Republican primary, Jolly faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach; Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami; Bradenton homebuilder Carlos Beruff and Orlando defense contractor Todd Wilcox. Voting begins in July for the Aug. 30 primary.

[Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2016 11:28am]


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