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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fox News wants to host a Florida U.S. Senate debate



Fox News Channel wants to host a televised U.S. Senate debate between Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy -- a recognition of how high-profile Florida's contest remains.

A date for the potential debate, which would be moderated by anchor Chris Wallace, hasn't been determined. (Wallace is also hosting the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 19.)

Rubio's campaign accepted the invitation, but it's unlikely Murphy's will. Fox News is known for catering to a conservative audience, and Murphy's campaign, meanwhile, is holding steadfast to its list of three debates and a candidate forum that the Jupiter congressman has agreed to attend.

Murphy and Rubio have mutually agreed to only two debates so far, although Rubio is pushing for six. Their campaigns continue to criticize each other for avoiding more chances to debate. 

Also this week, Rubio's campaign agreed to a debate proposed by Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute and WJXT Channel 4 in Jacksonville -- bringing his total of accepted events to eight.

The institute suggested Oct. 18 for the event, but Rubio's campaign didn't commit to a date. Murphy's campaign hasn't responded to the invitation, institute director Rick Mullaney said.

"We are hopeful the Murphy campaign will also commit to the debate and we are looking forward to hearing back from them," Mullaney said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 4:34pm]


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